New faces in NSW, Queenland team for 1st State of Origin
SYDNEY (AP) — Queensland coach Kevin Walters has named three debutants in his squad for next week’s first State of Origin match, following his New South Wales counterpart Brad Fittler in unveiling a new-look side.
Walters’ team contains seven changes from the Queensland side that beat New South Wales 18-12 in the dead-rubber third match of last year’s series.
Fittler on Sunday named a New South Wales team with five new caps, including South Sydney’s Cody Walker who combined in the halves with Nathan Cleary. The others are Souths’ Cameron Murray, Canberra pair Nick Cotric and Jack Wighton, and Brisbane’s Payne Haas.
The New South Wales team will again be captained by Boyd Cordner and includes 11 players from the squad that won last year’s series. Josh Morris returns after a three-year absence.
Walters was bullish Monday in naming a Queensland side that includes newcomers David Fifita, Joe Ofahengaue and Moses Mbye. Fifita, 19, has played only 21 NRL matches and is the first Origin player born in the 2000s.
Walters played down concerns around his expected choice as captain, Daly Cherry-Evans, who has an ankle injury. Mbye has a groin strain, and prop Jai Arrow is recovering from a leg injury.
New South Wales: James Tedesco, Nick Cotric, Latrell Mitchell, Josh Morris, Josh Addo-Carr, Cody Walker, Nathan Cleary, David Klemmer, Damien Cook, Paul Vaughan, Boyd Cordner, Tyson Frizell, Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: Jack Wighton, Payne Haas, Cameron Murray, Angus Crichton.
Queensland: Kalyn Ponga, Corey Oates, Will Chambers, Michael Morgan, Dane Gagai, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jai Arrow, Ben Hunt, Josh Papalii, Felise Kaufusi, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire. Interchange: Moses Mbye, Dylan Napa, Joe Ofahengaue, David Fifita.