The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Queensland veteran Sam Thaiday to miss State of Origin series opener

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BRISBANE, Australia - Queensland will be without veteran forward Sam Thaiday when it starts its bid for a ninth consecutive State of Origin series victory against New South Wales.

The Australian international backrower on Monday ruled himself out of contention after failing to overcome a calf muscle injury, and Maroons selectors drafted in Sydney Roosters forward Aidan Guerra to make his debut on May 28, when the annual three-match series kicks off in Brisbane.

Chris McQueen will start in the second row to replace Thaiday, with Guerra included on the interchange bench.

Billy Slater retained his place at fullback, Justin Hodges returned in the centres and Johnathan Thurston will start at five-eighth, with Daly Cherry-Evans picked as backline cover on the interchange bench.

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