Oates, Gagai face "big ask" in Qld defence

Laine Clark

Plenty of questions have already been posed by NSW but Kevin Walters admits Queensland's Corey Oates and Dane Gagai face a "big ask" defensively in Wednesday's State of Origin III in Brisbane.

However, Maroons coach Walters is finally confident Queensland can handle whatever the Blues throw up in attack ahead of the Suncorp Stadium dead rubber.

NSW have largely targeted the Maroons' right edge on their way to sealing their second series win in 13 years.

Walters fears the Blues' focus will now turn to the left side as they look to ice their first series whitewash since 2000.

He believes they will try to exploit recalled left winger Oates and Gagai, who replaces centre and skipper Greg Inglis (broken thumb).

Gagai has moved from right wing to left centre for Origin III, lining up a one on one battle with James Roberts while Oates must combat giant NSW winger Tom Trbojevic.

"They need to get it right in defence. It is a big ask for them but I am sure they will get it right," Walters said of the new left side combination.

"We have a lot of confidence in Dane Gagai. I think everyone would agree all of his performances at this level have been really good.

"We are expecting him to step up in a different position on the other side of the field and Corey Oates has been knocking the door down for several weeks now."

Walters knows exactly what to expect from NSW on Wednesday - and this time reckons the Maroons can stop it.

"The way they have played has worked for them. I can't see them changing too much and if they do then we will adapt to that," he said.

"We have a lot of confidence in our defence. If we can defend like we did in game two but just a little bit smarter on fifth and last options we will be fine.

"We know they are going to pour through the middle. If they want to throw the ball around that is up to Freddie (NSW coach Brad Fittler) and his mob.

"We will be ready for it whatever they come up with."

If the Blues register more than 20 points on Wednesday, it will be their highest scoring series since 2005.

Walters said it was "very important" the Maroons avoided NSW's fourth overall series whitewash in Origin history.

"No one wants that on their mantlepiece, particularly this group of guys," he said.

"Every game you play for Queensland is important. You have to wear that jersey with pride and do it justice - that is what we are looking for tomorrow night."