Queensland coach Kevin Walters admits Matt Scott’s likely season-ending knee injury leaves a “hole” in his team’s State of Origin roster.
The Maroons have been dealt a second major blow in as many weeks on Monday, with Scott joining Greg Inglis on the sidelines for the rest of the season.
“It’s going to be a bit of a hole there,” Walters told Fox Sports’ NRL 360.
“With Scott not available for Queensland, he’s had 20-odd Origins for Queensland, been so dominant; the first forward picked for the last five years.”
Scott was injured in North Queensland’s 21-20 golden-point win over Brisbane on Friday and scans confirmed a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
The injury could expose a potential weakness in the Maroons’ middle men this year.
Scott’s starting front-row partner from last year, Nate Myles, has struggled for form for the past two seasons at Manly.
Lock Corey Parker will also be absent in the middle, having retired over the off-season.
It could throw the door open for the likes of Dylan Napa and Josh McGuire to herald a new era for the Maroons up front.
Meanwhile, Queensland legend Gorden Tallis believes the Maroons will have little to worry about if the state’s injury crisis hits the halves.
Tallis identified Parramatta’s Corey Norman, who has taken the Eels to two opening-season wins for the first time in 18 years, as the next heir to the playmaking throne.
“I think he’s gone past Cherry-Evans and he’s gone past Milford and Ash Taylor and (Kane) Elgey are still learning their craft,” Tallis said.
“If (Johnathan) Thurston or Cooper Cronk (go down), I think he’s the next in line.
“If one of them got injured, there would be no problem with him and (Michael) Morgan would be the next two halves.”