Qld No.6 Munster "like JT": Cooper

Laine Clark
Gavin Cooper (left) says he hopes to forge a solid partnership with Cameron Munster for Queensland

He may feel Johnathan Thurston's on-field absence the most but Gavin Cooper has hailed Queensland's new pivot Cameron Munster, saying he is "very much like JT".

Cooper, 32, admitted Melbourne star Munster's natural game may limit the veteran back-rower's line runs that became his trademark in a lethal left edge combination with Thurston.

But the North Queensland forward was already convinced Munster was the right man for the job as the Maroons began life without Thurston and fellow retired greats Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk.

After an impressive game three debut last year, Munster, 23, will take the reins with halfback Ben Hunt over a new-look Maroons in Wednesday's State of Origin opener in Melbourne.

"I am not trying to put pressure on Munster but he plays very much like JT," Cooper said.

"He is a very instinctive player, a natural footballer and generally he breaks a lot of tackles with his running game - that's something we don't want to take off him.

"We don't want him to become JT and take people into the line and that sort of thing because his run is his best option."

Still, Cooper remained hopeful he could forge a new left edge one-two punch with Munster after promising signs at Queensland's Gold Coast camp.

"I hope so, it worked a couple of times at training," Cooper said.

"When 80,000 are watching hopefully it works the same.

"But Munny is just a natural footballer, he likes to run so I will give him space to run.

"If he doesn't want to take a tough carry just throw it to me, we will truck it up and see how we go.

"But we saw how good he was in game three last year. That's what we want from him again."

Ahead of his fourth Origin, Cooper said nothing would discourage him from looking for a trademark line run - not even the state of his head.

"I have got a few stitches on my face for it," he said.

"But it's just trying to create stuff for other people, whether that be running the good line or throwing my head in somewhere that people don't usually like.

"That's why I look like the way I do but footy is all about the team."