Maroons pair battle niggles on Origin eve

Ed Jackson
·2-min read

Queensland's depleted backline is under a further injury cloud with debutants Brenko Lee and Kurt Capewell both battling niggles before Wednesday's State of Origin opener.

Lee was a disconsolate figure as he limped off during Tuesday's final training session at CBUS Super Stadium on the Gold Coast, while Capewell only did light duties with strapping on his left leg.

Maroons coach Wayne Bennett confirmed after training Lee was battling a calf issue while Capewell had a groin complaint.

Bennett is confident both will be deemed fit to play against NSW at Adelaide Oval but has named Hymel Hunt among his 19-strong squad to travel to South Australia as cover.

"Nothing serious. One felt a bit of a strain in his groin, the other one is a calf muscle," Bennett said.

"They just went off as precautionary but I talked to the doctor and the physios and they're all confident they'll be fine and will play tomorrow."

Losing either player will add further pressure to the Maroons, who are already missing incumbent backline stars Michael Morgan, Moses Mbye and Kalyn Ponga to injury.

North Queensland's Valentine Holmes is also unavailable through suspension.

Bennett has included 10 players who are yet to play a single Origin among his 19-player list with Moeaki Fotuaika and Dunamis Lui the two players cut from the squad on Tuesday evening.

While the Maroons named an unchanged 1-17, Bennett has confirmed 18th man Capewell will play if fit with Phillip Sami dropping out.

Dane Gagai will move from centre to the left wing slot in place of Sami.

On the other wing, Xavier Coates showed no sign of discomfort on Tuesday despite suffering a low-grade sprain to his shoulder in training on Sunday.

The 19-year-old will be among the debutants as Bennett prepares to take Queensland's least inexperienced lineup since 2001 into battle against a Blues team chasing a third-straight Origin series victory.

"It's probably a little bit of an issue (experience) but it shouldn't be too bad, they all play in the NRL and are used to playing against the players they're playing tomorrow night," he said.

"They've got some experienced players around them - Cherry-Evans and Cameron Munster - those guys are experienced.

"In the forwards we've got Jake Friend and Josh Papalii.

"I'm confident without being overconfident.

"Tough game, you know that the other team will be up for it, but I think we've done the best we can.

"I'm not standing here today with any regrets about what we've done or why we've done it and how we've done it."

The Maroons fly to Adelaide on Wednesday before returning to Queensland after the match.