Maroons banking on wiser heads for State of Origin II

THERE is no doubt New South Wales is looking to the future with its team named for Origin II at the MCG next Wednesday night.

The average age of the Maroons' squad is 28.5 compared to the Blues' younger squad at 26.5.

Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk showed you couldn't beat experience with his match-winning field goal late in Game I.

While Cronk, 31, is out with a knee injury, Parker pointed out having six club captains in the Maroons outfit, compared to three in the Blues team, will give Queensland an edge.

"There are a lot of senior guys in this team, and club captains, so that in itself provides some leadership," Parker told APN.

"Most of the group has already been through this (Origin lead-up) process a number of times, so they understand it quite well."

But Parker, 33, said Maroons selectors haven't entirely been negligent in introducing younger players to the squad.

Fill-in halfback Daly Cherry-Evans (26), Will Chambers (27), Aidan Guerra (27) and bench players Michael Morgan (23), Josh McGuire (25) and Matt Gillett (26) have all been developed in Emerging Maroons squads in recent years.

"If you look over the last three, four or five years, there's been a good sprinkling of younger guys come through in the Origin arena over that period," Parker said.

Blues coach Laurie Daley raised some eyebrows by leaving out proven Origin performer Luke Lewis, 31, from his bench.

Daley went for a young and physically imposing bench of Trent Merrin (25), Boyd Cordner (23), David Klemmer (21) and Josh Jackson (24).

"They've picked a big team and good luck to them," Parker said.

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