Queensland coach Paul Green has handed 18-year-old Warriors fullback Reece Walsh the no.1 jersey for the Maroons’ must-win clash at Suncorp Stadium this Sunday night.
Walsh, who has played just seven NRL games but has been impressive in all of them, will be the youngest Origin debutant in 26 years when he runs out against the Blues. Injuries to Kalyn Ponga (groin) and AJ Brimson (knee), on top of a disastrous Game 1 effort from the backs, forced Green to make the stunning call.
The rest of the Maroons Origin team features a number of changes.
Valentine Holmes, who played an okay game at fullback in Game 1, gets moved to the left wing to accommodate Walsh, with Xavier Coates getting the axe and Kyle Feldt keeping his spot in the side despite both players having absolute shockers.
Andrew McCullough has been called up to play hooker thanks to injuries suffered by Brimson, Harry Grant and Reed Mahoney, while Ben Hunt returns to the side in the bench playmaker role.
Josh Papalii returns from suspension to assume a starting prop role, while Francis Molo has also been named for his Origin debut off the bench.
Jaydn Su’A and Joe Ofahengaue have been left out of the side altogether, while there has also been plenty of shuffling in the forward pack.
Tino Fa’asuamaleaui moves to lock from prop, shifting Jai Arrow into the second row and dropping David Fifita to the bench. Moeaki Fotuaika also surprisingly remains on the bench despite being praised as Queensland’s best player in the game 1 massacre.
Incredibly, this is the first time no Broncos players have been selected to Queensland’s State of Origin team.
1. Reece Walsh, 2. Valentine Holmes, 3. Kurt Capewell, 4. Dane Gagai, 5. Kyle Feldt, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Christian Welch, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Josh Papali’i, 11. Jai Arrow, 12. Felise Kaufusi, 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
Interchange/reserves: 14. Ben Hunt, 15. Moeaki Fotuaika, 16. David Fifita, 17. Francis Molo | 18. Coen Hess, 19. Ronaldo Mulitalo