A former Queensland State of Origin legend has been drafted as state leader of Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party for the upcoming state election.

The businessman announced ex-NRL star Greg Dowling will lead the party’s tilt at the October Queensland election and vie for the seat of Townsville, held by Labor’s Scott Stewart.

“We are assembling a great team of candidates – people with real-life skills, not career politicians – united by the common goal of making Queensland the best it can be,” Mr Dowling said.

A Townsville resident for the past 12 years, Mr Dowling owns and operates a food outlet in the local shopping centre.

Mr Dowling played 14 Tests for Australia, 11 State of Origin matches for Queensland and made six appearances for the Maroons in the pre-Origin era.

Dowling was an unsuccessful United Australia Party candidate in the 2019 federal election for the north Queensland seat of Herbert.