Queenslanders dominate business end of NRL

Warren Barnsley
AAP
Storm trio Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater have played almost 1000 NRL games combined.

Queensland's State of Origin dominance has flowed on to NRL success as the Maroons enjoy greater involvement in the finals than NSW.

Of the 26-strong squad the Maroons used in this year's triumph, just five players won't feature for the six teams remaining in the NRL, excluding injured North Queensland superstar Johnathan Thurston.

In contrast, Sydney Roosters trio Blake Ferguson, Mitchell Pearce and Boyd Cordner are the only 2017 Blues players in contention for the premiership ahead of week two of the finals.

Josh Papalii (Canberra), Jacob Lillyman (Warriors), Jarrod Wallace (Gold Coast) and Dane Gagai (Newcastle) are the Queenslanders whose teams fell short of the top eight this year.

Maroons winger Valentine Holmes' season ended when fifth-placed Cronulla were upset by North Queensland in their week-one elimination final on Sunday.

Seven Queensland players from Brisbane, seven from Melbourne, four Cowboys and two from the Sydney Roosters have progressed to the finals' second week.

Maroons stars Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk have been involved in every NRL finals campaign with the Storm since 2010.

The Blues kept the same 17 throughout the 2-1 series loss -- their 11th in 12 years.

Forward Jake Trbojevic's season ended when Manly were beaten by Penrith last weekend.

He was joined in elimination by Sharks players James Maloney Andrew Fifita, Wade Graham and Jack Bird.

St George Illawarra narrowly missing the top-eight meant Dragons Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell missed finals action.

Other clubs to produce Blues players this year -- Canterbury, Wests Tigers and Gold Coast -- struggled in the NRL.

The discrepancy between the two states was highlighted when Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga named his Prime Minister's XIII on Wednesday.

Gagai, Holmes and Papalii were the only Queenslanders in the 18-man squad selected from clubs who are out of the premiership race.

But Meninga stopped short of concluding the Maroons would dominate his Australian squad for this year's World Cup.

"I'm expecting a strong Australian side, regardless of where they come from," Meninga told reporters.

"We've had an outstanding Origin series this year -- very close."