The injection of new blood into the Maroons for Origin Game II was a “very exciting time for Queensland rugby league”, coach Kevin Walters told QRL Media in this video.
“This is a new-look Queensland team now, and this is our future,” Walters said.
The Queensland team today (June 12) announced seven changes for Game II at ANZ Stadium, Sydney, on June 21, to the team that was beaten 28-4 in the Brisbane series opener, and that lost the last game of 2016, 18-14.
Missing out for the must-win clash are Sam Thaiday and Aidan Guerra, winger Corey Oates, centre Justin O’Neill and props Nate Myles and Jacob Lillyman. Anthony Milford is unavailable due to injury. Walters described the four forwards as mainstays of the team.
“That was tough, leaving them out.” But he said the Blues forwards had dominated at Suncorp and Queensland was "a bit lost through our middle".
He said he was sure backs Oates and O’Neill would play in Maroon again after improved club performances.
Superstar pivot Johnathan Thurston is back from injury and Storm fullback Billy Slater has been recalled after his controversial omission from Game I.
“(Slater’s) form since then has gone to another level,” Walters said.
“He’s forced his way back into the side, which is great news for everyone.
“I’m very excited to have Bill back in. He’s one of those players, on the field he gives his all and off the fields he adds plenty to the team and the structure around the team.”
Also called up were Valentine Holmes, Tim Glasby, Coen Hess and Jarrod Wallace.
The Maroons had entered a transitional phase, Walters said. “It’s in our face right now.”
Watch the full video above.