Brimson marked as Maroons' Origin X-factor

Ed Jackson
·2-min read

Former Queensland player and coach Paul Vautin believes the Maroons have a State of Origin game breaker in debutant AJ Brimson.

The fleet-footed Gold Coast fullback will run out in the No.1 jersey for Queensland in Wednesday's series opener in Adelaide, with Kalyn Ponga sidelined due to a shoulder injury.

Having overcome a fractured back earlier in the year, Brimson was one of the Titans' best in their strong finish to the 2020 season.

The 22-year-old scored seven tries in just nine matches, including back-to-back doubles to round out the season against Manly and Newcastle.

That form is enough to have Vautin tipping the youngster to shine against the more experienced and heavily-favoured NSW.

"His last four or five games with the Gold Coast were outstanding," Vautin, who made 21 appearances for the Maroons and famously coached them to a 3-0 whitewash in 1995, told AAP.

"He's definitely got X-factor, no doubt about it. His strength, and speed in particular, he's an outstanding player.

"Blokes like him can just stand up, he's a game changer AJ Brimson."

Brimson and his Maroons teammates have their final training run on the Gold Coast on Tuesday with both states to finalise their 19-man lineu-ps for Wednesday's game later in the day.

Winger Xavier Coates is expected to play despite scans on Monday revealing the teenager suffered a low-grade shoulder sprain in training on Sunday.

The 19-year-old will still have to get through Tuesday's session unscathed but Maroons medical staff are confident he'll be fit to make his own State of Origin debut in the Adelaide Oval opener.

Queensland will remain on the Gold Coast until Wednesday, travelling to and from South Australia on the day of the match.