Darren Lockyer reveals real reason for Selwyn Cobbo's axing from Queensland Origin team

The Maroons legend has hit back at the backlash surrounding the coach.

Maroons legends Darren Lockyer and Wally Lewis has moved to quell the drama surrounding Billy Slater's move to drop Selwyn Cobbo from the Queensland squad after the coach copped plenty of backlash. Slater has come under pressure since announcing the Game 2 team to take on NSW after dropping Cobbo from the squad.

Cobbo was used as the utility in Game 1 and was immediately called upon when Reece Walsh was ruled out of the game after a high-shot that left him out cold on the floor in the seventh minute. He ran for 167 metres, had one linebreak and two linebreak assists after slotting into the backline.

Maroons legend Darren Lockyer (pictured left) has backed Billy Slater's call to drop Selwyn Cobbo from the QLD squad. (Getty Images)
Maroons legend Darren Lockyer (pictured left) has backed Billy Slater's call to drop Selwyn Cobbo from the QLD squad. (Getty Images)

Despite his strong performance in a winning side, Slater has opted to leave Cobbo out of the squad entirely having selected Kurt Capewell as potential cover for the backline. The move has certainly prompted plenty of speculation with Corey Parker and Paul Gallen singling out Slater for the selection drama.

Maroons legend Mal Meninga has also questioned whether Slater will keep his listed 17 or move to make a late change before kick-off. But after all the backlash for the Maroons coach, NRL great Lockyer has offered an insight into why Cobbo was not selected.

Slater put down Cobbo's absence to a number of injuries he was dealing with in Origin camp. And Lockyer has also doubled down on this claim and even went further to say Cobbo needed a break to get back in the right frame of mind.

"The decision in the end was pretty easy," he told the QLDER podcast on Channel Nine. "I congratulate Selwyn for being open and honest about it. He is carrying a few niggles at the moment and I think it's affecting him mentally.

"He was pretty open and honest with Billy about whether he was capable of performing in that arena and there is nowhere to hide in Origin. He's young and it's not like it's over, he will be back in the Maroons jersey at some point, but now is just not the right time to push him physically and mentally.

"Given we are 1-0 up in the series, that's a bit of a luxury that Billy has got. It's a big decision, but at the same time it's the right one." The move to not carry a back in the reserves certainly backfired for the Blues in Game 1, but Slater is adamant he has made the right call.

Selwyn Cobbo celebrates with Xavier Coates.
Selwyn Cobbo (pictured left) was left out of the QLD team for Game 2.

Lockyer's affirmation of Slater's call was backed by Maroons legend Wally Lewis who claimed carrying an injured player on the bench could backfire for the Queensland team. While Lockyer and Lewis were adamant Slater made the right call, fellow Maroon greats Corey Parker and Mal Meninga have questioned whether he won't find a position for a back in the reserves.

Kangaroos coach, and former Maroons coach, Meninga has predicted Slater might make a late change heading into Game 2. Slater has named forward Kurt Capewell on the bench and many feel he will have to cover a centre position if there is a replacement needed during State of Origin Game 2.

However, Kangaroos coach Meninga has predicted former Origin star Dane Gagai will move onto the bench for Capewell to cover the backline. “I reckon there's a chance of that (Gagai being in the 17-man squad), there’s every chance of that,” Meninga said on SEN Radio on Tuesday.


“When you look at Game I, you look the player workload, some of the edge backrowers, this is not taking into account Reece (Walsh) being knocked out… the edge backrowers on both sides were under pressure and played a lot of minutes, and came up with a few missed tackles.

“So, I’m also thinking that from a bench point of view, getting more value out of your bench, I think you rest your 11 and 12 at some stage during the game as well and put some fresh bodies on, I think that’s really important when it comes to your defensive systems.”

Billy Slater reacts during training.
Billy Slater (pictured) made the big call to drop Selwyn Cobbo from the QLD team.