2019 State of Origin Series launched in Sydney

Origin launch: Damien Cook and Dane Gagai in the shadows of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Wednesday. Picture: AAP
Origin launch: Damien Cook and Dane Gagai in the shadows of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Wednesday. Picture: AAP

Less than a month away from the series opener, players and coaches from NSW and Queensland stood side-by-side yesterday afternoon, as the 2019 State of Origin series was launched a stone's throw from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Among those present was Helensburgh Tigers junior and 2018 breakout star Damien Cook from the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Looking to continue the impact he had on last year's series, Cook joins the likes of St George Illawarra's Tyson Frizzell, Tariq Sims, Paul Vaughn and Ben Hunt and Cronulla's Wade Graham as possible combatants in the Game 1 blockbuster in Brisbane.

Dependable Sharks centre Josh Morris has also emerged as a right-edge candidate in another back-to-the-future pick, especially given Queensland will stack their attacking guns Cam Munster and Kalyn Ponga down their left side.

Excited by the prospect of another grueling series, NSW coach Brad Fittler reflected on the success that his side tasted last year.

"It was an awesome experience ushering in a new generation of NSW players and it was exciting to see them rewarded with a series win for all the hard work and effort they put in," Fittler said.

"The Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues will be giving their utmost again (in this year's series) and I can't wait for the series to begin."

State-versus-state: NSW coach Brad Fittler and Queensland coach Kevin Walters are excited by the prospect of another titanic battle during the Origin series. Picture: AAP

State-versus-state: NSW coach Brad Fittler and Queensland coach Kevin Walters are excited by the prospect of another titanic battle during the Origin series. Picture: AAP

Sharing a similar sentiment to his counterpart, Queensland coach Kevin Walters was large on the importance of the upcoming series opener in deciding the result of the series.

"Our focus will be on getting our preparation right for Game I, as we all know how crucial it is to the outcome of the series," Walters said.

"We'll be doing everything in our power to ensure Queensland fans are extremely proud of their team's performance when they leave Suncorp Stadium."

With less than two weeks until teams are named questions remain on how both coaches will deal with their individual selection headaches.

For Fittler, the looming issue of finding a right centre, with incumbent James Roberts exiled to reserve grade and the experienced Jack Bird ruled out for the season, is proving to be selection headache with the likes of Jesse Ramien and Clint Gutherson being touted as possible replacements.

For Queensland, St George Illawarra's Ben Hunt is still yet to have cemented his position within the Queensland side, with the options of him playing halfback, hooker or utility all being viable for Kevin Walters.

The 2019 State of Origin opener will kick off at 8.15pm on Wednesday, June 5.