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Walters refuses to panic on line-up

By Eden Richards‌, Queensland Correspondent‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com

Queensland Maroons line-up Game I

Queensland coach Kevin Walters will keep his cool on making changes to his Maroons 17 for Game II, despite his side being comprehensively beaten 28-4 by the NSW Blues at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night (May 31). 

The Maroons' biggest worry comes in the middle of the park, with none of their forward pack running for more than 120m, a huge worry when compared to the Blues who had four forwards pass that mark.

But Walters will remain calm and considered, telling media after the game that he will take his time to assess whether some fresh faces are needed in Queensland's squad.

"We'll have a look at the video. That's the safest and fairest way to see where we are at as a team. We'll make adjustments from there if we have to," Walters said.

"I'm not going to make any drastic decisions. 

"Our boys have to go back to their clubs to work on those things that can be the difference and will be the difference at Origin. That's the plan moving forward. 

"Everyone can go back to their clubs and work on some little things that are important at this level."

Milford sound

One change that will happen if he is fit is the inclusion of North Queensland Cowboys superstar Johnathan Thurston. 

Anthony Milford started at five-eighth for Queensland in Thurston's absence, and although he had his moments, he was never going to be able to fill the boots of one of the greatest halves to have played the game. 

The most notable part of Thurston's game that was missing was his kicking, with Milford failing to put in one kick during general play. 

Instead halfback Cooper Cronk had the responsibility of putting in almost all of Queensland's kicks and it created a one-dimensional Maroons attack. 

‘They were pretty dominant through the middle and Johnathan doesn't play there’

It looks as though Milford may be the unfortunate player to miss out on Game II, with Thurston expected to recover from the shoulder injury that kept him out of Game One. 

Thurston is arguably Queensland's most important player and that is why Walters is so hopeful that the 34-year-old will be right for Game II.

"I'm not sure about Johnathan. He wasn't fit enough for this game so he will have to get back to his club doctors and see what they say," he said.

"Obviously we're hopeful of getting him back for Game II but that's still an unknown. 

"With all due respect, I think if Johnathan played tonight it might have been a little bit closer, but they were pretty dominant through the middle and Johnathan doesn't play there."

Tough task ahead

With or without Thurston, the Maroons will have to turn up at their very best in Game II if they are to turn the 1-0 series deficit around. 

Twenty-game Origin veteran Cronk has no doubt that his side will be ready to play, saying that whoever wears Maroon in Game II will do everything they can to keep the series alive.  

"I think it's a bit too early to make changes. The selectors will sit down and analyse the game," Cronk said. 

"From my point of view I can sit here and honestly tell you that it doesn't matter who is in the 17 for Queensland in Game II because they will all spend every last bit of energy trying to get the result no matter who they are. That's what Origin is about. "

* This article first appeared at NRL.com