Rugby League

Maroons coach Kevin Walters marks Jake Granville as worthy Smith successor

Unable to crack a NRL starting side barely 12 months ago, Jake Granville is considered a worthy replacement for Cameron Smith by Queensland State of Origin coach Kevin Walters.

Granville's meteoric rise shows no sign of slowing down, with the Cowboys' premiership-winning rake included in the Queensland Emerging Origin squad in one of Walters' first acts as Maroons mentor.

Premiership-winning rake Jake Granville looks set for more honours in 2016.
Premiership-winning rake Jake Granville looks set for more honours in 2016. Photo: Getty Images

Dumped by Brisbane, Granville began the 2015 NRL season as the Cowboys' bench utility.

By season's end, the energetic rake was the toast of Townsville after starring in North Queensland's drought-breaking title win.

Queensland coach Kevin Walters has named the Emerging Origin side.
Queensland coach Kevin Walters has named the Emerging Origin side. Photo: Getty Images

And it seems he is destined for more honours, Walters talking up Granville's Emerging Origin squad selection on Tuesday.

Granville features in a 20-strong squad, missing Roosters rake Jake Friend, that will assemble from January 29-31 in Brisbane.


Walters said the likes of Granville and Friend ensured the Maroons wouldn't struggle if Queensland skipper Smith was not available in the new coach's first series at the helm in 2016.

"He ... was a really dominant player for the Cowboys last year so we thought it was time to introduce him to the squad as well," Walters told the QRL website.

"We're very well positioned there at hooker if Cameron Smith is unavailable for whatever reason.

"Jake Friend from the Roosters is another one who has been in the system for two or three years now so it was probably time we introduced more of our Queensland talent to the program."

Dale Copley is expected to be squeezed out of Brisbane due to ex-Gold Coast flyer James Roberts' arrival but he is still considered worthy of Emerging Origin squad selection.

Copley is one of eight returning players after featuring in last season's squad.

Others to come back are Brisbane's grand final halves Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford and 2015 Maroons squad members Dylan Napa, Edrick Lee and Korbin Sims.

New faces include South Sydney back-rower Chris Grevsmuhl, Canterbury playmaker Moses Mbye and the man who comfortably filled injured Melbourne fullback Billy Slater's shoes in 2015, Cameron Munster.

Walters was confident of extending Queensland's run of nine series wins in 10 years after gauging the Maroons' depth.

"We're always eager to look at the next generation of players coming through and the best way to do it is through these camps," he said.

Queensland Emerging Origin squad: Jayson Bukuya (Cronulla), Dale Copley (Brisbane), Tim Glasby (Melbourne), Jake Granville (Cowboys), Chris Grevsmuhl (Rabbitohs), Valentine Holmes (Cronulla), Ben Hunt (Brisbane), Edrick Lee (Canberra), Ethan Lowe (Cowboys), Nene MacDonald (Titans), Moses Mbye (Canterbury), Anthony Milford (Brisbane), Cameron Munster (Melbourne), Dylan Napa (Roosters), Joe Ofahengaue (Brisbane), Justin O'Neill (Cowboys), Corey Oates (Brisbane), Lloyd Perrett (Canterbury), Korbin Sims (Newcastle), Jarrod Wallace (Brisbane)


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