Billy Slater explains Selwyn Cobbo call amid Reece Walsh and David Fifita twist for Origin 2

The Queensland coach has named Walsh at fullback for the Maroons, but Cobbo is out and Fifita has been snubbed again.

Billy Slater has named Reece Walsh at fullback for State of Origin 2, but the Maroons have opted to leave Selwyn Cobbo out and there's still no room for David Fifita despite J'Maine Hopgood also being out. Walsh was heavily concussed in the seventh minute of Queensland's 38-10 win over NSW in Game I in Sydney after a high tackle that saw Joseph Suaalii sent off.

The 21-year-old has since undergone all required protocols with club team Brisbane after his mandatory 11-day stand-down period - in which he missed the Broncos' games against Cronulla and South Sydney. Slater named Walsh at fullback on Monday, and as long as he passes final tests in Queensland camp, he will take the field against NSW at the MCG on June 26. "I have been talking to Reece over the last week and he has been ticking all the boxes and being really professional away from playing," Slater told Channel Nine on Sunday.

Billy Slater, Reece Walsh, Selwyn Cobbo or David Fifita.
Reece Walsh has been named for Queensland but there's no room for Selwyn Cobbo or David Fifita. Image: Getty

Last week, Broncos coach Kevin Walters assured Slater that Walsh would be good to go. "Of course Billy will select him," Walters said. "I would say Reece's last seven minutes were enough in Origin I to suggest he will be there for Origin 2. Reece is good. He is doing all the protocols with the HIAs and he will be fine to go for Origin.

"Unfortunately he is no good for us against Souths. He was medically ruled out. He was unavailable to play and I'm very comfortable with that. We care about our players at the Broncos and we want to do the right thing medically for them. He will be back for Billy in Origin."

Reece Walsh in State of Origin I.
Reece Walsh was heavily concussed in State of Origin I. Image: Getty


That's despite Maroons legend Wally Lewis calling on Walsh and officials to consider sitting the 21-year-old out longer and missing Origin 2. "As a former player I know you don't want to wait around, you want to come back the next week," Lewis told the Sydney Morning Herald. "You don't want to sit on the sideline or be considered a wimp if you don't come back in a few weeks.

"But there are too many long-term dangers to put up with now. You need to accept the decision from doctors and medical staff. I'm sure Reece will want to get back as soon as possible. The doctors will be exercising their professional prowess and making sure there won't be an early comeback. There's too much to lose."

And Fifita has once again been overlooked despite two spots on the Maroons' bench becoming available. Parramatta back-rower Hopgood, who made his Origin debut in Game I in Sydney, has missed selection with a back injury after he didn't play against the Roosters on Saturday night. And Cobbo, who was the bench utility in Game I, has also been left out for the second game.

Slater revealed on Monday morning that Cobbo has been playing with a few niggling injuries, but said he opted to "give him a rest" due to a number of issues with his game. "Selwyn is not quite 100 per cent at the moment," Slater said.

"He's been playing with injections and that sort of stuff... collective with a few things he would like to work on in his game, we thought it was best Selwyn have a rest. I felt this was the best thing for him and for the team. I have no doubt Selwyn will be back in a Queensland jersey soon.

Dolphins veteran Felise Kaufusi, who was 18th man in Game I but came into the match when Walsh was knocked out, will take Hopgood's spot on the bench for Game 2. Kurt Capewell is the other new face on the bench, and will assume Cobbo's super-sub role with his ability to cover multiple positions in the backs and forwards.

Many would have expected Fifita to come into the side after he was sensationally axed by Slater for Game I. But the hulking back-rower also missed the Titans' loss to Wests Tigers on Saturday due to an ankle injury, which appears to have ruined his hopes of a recall.

After dropping Fifita for Game I, Slater said: "I've got no doubt that Dave will get back to the footy he played last year, and I'm sure he will wear a Maroons jersey in the future again. Dave created a really high standard for his footy last year. He just hasn’t quite got to that standard this year."

  1. Reece Walsh

  2. Xavier Coates

  3. Valentine Holmes

  4. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow

  5. Murray Taulagi

  6. Tom Dearden

  7. Daly Cherry-Evans

  8. Reuben Cotter

  9. Ben Hunt

  10. Lindsay Collins

  11. Jaydn Su'A

  12. Jeremiah Nanai

  13. Patrick Carrigan

  14. Harry Grant

  15. Moeaki Fotuaika

  16. Felise Kaufusi

  17. Kurt Capewell

Reserves: Dane Gagai, Heilum Luki, Trent Loiero.

with AAP