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Something old, something new. Return to Suncorp, and beat the Blues.

Queensland coach Paul Green has unveiled his formula for a State of Origin revenge mission in Game II, overhauling his squad with a mix of new faces and tried-and-tested performers to try to square the series on Sunday night.

Boom rookie Reece Walsh, cut adrift by the Broncos earlier this year after struggling for opportunity, has capped one of the most rapid rises in rugby league by being handed his Queensland debut after just seven NRL games with the Warriors.

Walsh has been a revelation since jumping across the ditch chasing regular first grade time.

But no one would have predicted that two months after his first grade debut that he would be wearing the Queensland No.1 jersey at Suncorp Stadium.

Walsh will become the youngest Maroons since Ben Ikin turned out for Paul Vautin’s Maroons in 1995, coming in after Kalyn Ponga again ruled himself out with injury, with a backline reshuffle seeing Valentine Holmes moving from the back to the wing in place of Xavier Coates.

Walsh won’t be the only new face lining up the Maroons, with Cowboys powerhouse Frank Molo also earning a Queensland debut as Green looks to add some starch to the pack.

Cronulla’s Ronaldo Mulitalo is the other new inclusion in the squad – named as a back-up reserve alongside North Queensland’s Coen Hess.

Answering the cavalry call for Origin II is Canberra juggernaut Josh Papali’i, who will resume his role as pack leader after missing the first game in Townsville, joining Christian Welch in the starting front row.

Jai Arrow shuffles back from prop to join Felise Kaufusi and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui in a powerful backrow, with David Fifita, Moeaki Fotuaika and Molo to bring added grunt from the bench.

While the inclusion of Walsh and Molo will attract most of the attention, it is the return of a couple of familiar faces in Ben Hunt and Andrew McCullough could be even more critical.

McCullough has answered the SOS with Queensland’s hooking stocks running thin after injuries to Harry Grant and Reed Mahoney, and will bring stability and a terrific defensive workrate to the No.9 jersey.

Hunt meanwhile has been in sensational touch for the Dragons, and has more than earned his recall to the No.14 he was seemingly born for, using a sublime performance against the Raiders on the weekend to seal his recall to the Maroons squad.

Queensland will also be boosted with key playmakers Daly Cherry-Evans and Cameron Munster coming into camp with a big injection of confidence after both pulled the strings in monster wins for their respective clubs on the weekend.

QUEENSLAND ORIGIN II: Reece Walsh, Valentine Holmes, Kurt Capewell, Dane Gagai, Kyle Feldt, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans (c), Christian Welch, Andrew McCullough, Josh Papalii, Felise Kaufusi, Jai Arrow, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui. Interchange: Ben Hunt, David Fifita, Moeaki Fotuaika, Frank Molo. Reserves: Coen Hess, Ronaldo Mulitalo.

2021-06-21T10:45:53+00:00 June 21st, 2021|Origin|