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The Roar


Bennett wants Queensland to look to future

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4th July, 2021

Super coach Wayne Bennett wants Queensland to have an eye on the future and make changes for next week’s State of Origin finale.

With the series already wrapped up, NSW went with the younger option of Mitch Moses over Adam Reynolds on Sunday night to replace injured half Nathan Cleary.

Debutant Api Koroisau has also been handed his first game off the bench, with Jack Wighton moving from No.14 to No.6 to replace the injured Jarome Luai.

Queensland are almost certain to make changes.

Kalyn Ponga will return at fullback from a groin injury, while fit-again AJ Brimson should also be included when the side is named on Monday.

However there is every chance Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow could loom as a bolter in the centres, after teenager Reece Walsh was only denied a debut through injury for Game II.

And Bennett, who coached the Maroons in last year’s shock series win, said he would be pursuing a similar path to NSW with young options for the future.

“Queensland should be doing the same (as NSW) with their team selections right now,” Bennett said.

“They may not want to change things. They may want to stay the same.


“But you have to take the opportunity to put these kids under a bit more pressure and find out what they’re really good.

“Because when the series starts next year they have a game under them.”

The Maroons have already lost Harry Grant for Game III through a hamstring injury, while Gold Coast forward David Fifita is facing a potential ban.

Fifita has been charged with dangerous contact on Sam Williams, meaning he would need to beat the charge at the judiciary to run out.

Bennett himself only faced a 2-0 deficit twice times in his eight series in charge of the Maroons.

But he made good use of it, debuting Cameron Smith in Game III of 2003 before he went on to become Queensland’s most capped Origin star.

“I remember bringing Cameron Smith in for his first Origin the game after we lost the series,” Bennett said.

“We have done that for a long time for Queensland. And they have gone on to be great players for us.


Bennett himself refused to rule out a return to coaching the Maroons when asked this weekend, saying “he’s left all the doors open” after his South Sydney stint ends this year.