Trending topics

Select your station

We'll remember your choice for next time

Why Maroons selectors have faith Tom Dearden will deliver


Queensland State of Origin legend and current Maroons selector Gene Miles has revealed the faith coach Billy Slater has in North Queensland Cowboys young gun Tom Dearden as he replaces the injured Cameron Munster for the upcoming series.

The 23-year-old beat out Brisbane Broncos star Ezra Mam to wear the famous Queensland No.6 jersey when the side runs out to take on New South Wales at Accor Stadium on June 5 despite the Cowboys being inconsistent for most of the NRL season.

But Miles said the way Dearden handled his late call-up and debut in Game III of the 2022 series gave Slater and the selectors belief he would do the job.

“Obviously it’s been stated that Tom Dearden stepped up when Cam Munster had Covid in Game III in 2022,” Miles said on Breakfast SENQ.

"He did a fantastic job, Billy went to knock on his door back in those days and said ‘I’m going to play you at six’ because Munster’s obviously sick and he said ‘I wont let you down Billy’.

“Those sort of words, coming out of a 21-year-old, it’s a big statement to make but he hit the field, set up a great try for Valentine Holmes very early and his defence was tremendous.

“He handled it on his ear and so that was always going to go in his case.”

Miles, who played 23 Origins for the Maroons between 1981 and 1989, also said Mam had impressed through his performances for the Broncos this year.

“Of course Ezra is playing the house down, you just can’t have both of them in the team at the moment,” he said.

He also said the selection of Selwyn Cobbo on the bench was something the team needed for the series.

“We’ve got to carry a back on the bench, obviously that’s been pretty controversial too but it’s justified and if you go through and look at since Billy’s been involved we’ve had six games and on four of those occasions we’ve had a back go down so the stats are there to prove it,” he said.

“With today with the HIA, foul play, hip drops and getting whacked around the head and getting 10 minutes in the can, all these things have to come into play.”

Dearden will partner Queensland skipper Daly Cherry-Evans for the second time in the series opener next Wednesday.

Queensland Rugby League

More in NRL