Peats feels for Hunt, backs Taylor for Qld

Laine Clark
Nathan Peats is backing Gold Coast teammate Ash Taylor to become the Maroons' next halfback

Even former NSW rake Nathan Peats feels sorry for maligned Queensland halfback Ben Hunt.

But it's not stopped him backing Gold Coast teammate Ash Taylor as the Maroons No.7 for July 11's State of Origin dead rubber.

Queensland coach Kevin Walters says he will look to the future when he names his game three team on Monday after NSW clinched their second series win in 13 years.

And Maroons great Justin Hodges has led calls for Titans playmaker Taylor to be unveiled as Queensland's new No.7 after Hunt's lack of impact in their 18-14 Origin II loss.

Hunt conceded Origin's first penalty try in 37 years when he obstructed a try-bound Boyd Cordner and copped flak for failing to exploit a NSW outfit with a man down in the final 10 minutes.

"I feel a bit sorry for Ben Hunt. Their (Queensland's) game plan probably didn't work in his favour," said Peats, who played all three Origins for NSW last year.

"NSW dominated around the ruck there so it was hard for (hooker) Andrew McCullough and Ben Hunt to get out.

"But Ash is a smart young kid. I think he would do really well at that level."

Peats said the Maroons should take a chance and blood 23-year-old Taylor.

He said 20-year-old Kalyn Ponga's impressive Maroons debut in game two showed what could happen when selectors roll the dice.

"You never know if you are ready to play Origin until you are chucked in there," Peats said.

"But Ponga is a freak. I have never seen anyone play at that level without any fear."

Hunt copped plenty of heat over his game two options especially for a third tackle grubber that went dead late in the match with Queensland on the attack and NSW down a man.

"I was to blame for one of the kicks that handed the Blues a crucial seven-tackle set," he told Big League magazine.

"I saw the fullback was out of position and I took an opportunity - unfortunately it didn't come off.

"It was a huge play in the game, when we needed to turn it around and take control (but) I kicked it dead, they came out of trouble pretty easily and that was because of me."

But Hunt said he had not been fazed by the fallout.

"A lot of people have had their opinions on social media - and I know they haven't been overly positive - but that stuff doesn't hurt me," he said.

"It's more about your team-mates and feeling that you've let them down. I don't really care what people behind a keyboard have to say about me or what they think."