Queensland coach reveals who's in frame for Origin I
QUESTION marks remain over who will take the place of injured star Johnathan Thurston if the North Queensland playmaker is ruled out of the first State of Origin game.
In Brisbane to talk up Saturday's NRL double-header at Suncorp Stadium, Queensland coach Kevin Walters admitted there was a three-way race for the vacant No.6 jersey.
Michael Morgan has played five games for Queensland but the form of Brisbane playmaker Anthony Milford and Parramatta's Corey Norman would bring them into contention.
"Anthony Milford has struck some good form over the last couple of weeks and Corey Norman has been up there as well," Walters said.
"All these guys are playing the type of football that you like to see this time of the year.
"It's great for the individuals if they are playing good football and some may force their way into the side on the back of form.
"What (others) have done for Queensland in the past will be fairly high on the barometer as well."
With the Gold Coast and Melbourne going head-to-head on Saturday, Walters will get another look at some of Queensland's emerging stars.
In the absence of suspended stars Kevin Proctor and Jesse Bromwich, the Titans' Jarrod Wallace and the Storm's Felise Kaufusi will lead their respective sides in the forwards.
"Jarrod has been going well but that's not really a surprise," Walters said. "We are well aware of his ability.
"Dylan Napa is another who has been going well, and the Kaufusi boys are playing some good footy."
Walters joined fellow Queenslanders Mal Meninga, Justin Hodges and Darius Boyd ahead of the double-header at Suncorp Stadium.
Juggling his duties as coach and a regular commentator on Fox League's new Queenslanders Only talk show, Walters said he was committed to being ready for game one on May 31.
"My focus has been on Origin since the finish of last year's series," he said.
"I've got to fill in the time somehow so I might as well get out and watch some rugby league and commentate on some rugby league.
"I enjoy both aspects and you need to watch a lot of footy to make sure we get our selections right for game one."
Walters and the rest of the Fox League stars were out in force this week rallying Queenslanders to get behind their team ahead of the double-header.
Led by Australian coach Meninga, the rugby league greats began building the "wall", described as "a symbol of Queensland's greatness".
"It will stop inferiors - namely New South Welshmen - joining our great state," Meninga said. "We will make league great again."
Melbourne and the Gold Coast face off in the first game at Suncorp Stadium, followed by the Brisbane Broncos and Manly Sea Eagles.