Reece Walsh's Origin spot called into question as Queensland rocked by Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow blow

The Maroons have a number of headaches to figure out before the Origin decider.

Queensland fans are questioning whether Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow might be a better option at fullback than Reece Walsh in the State of Origin decider after a disappointing showing from Walsh in Game 2 at the MCG. The Maroons No.1 - making his return after being knocked out in the eight minute of Game 1 by a Joseph Suaalii high shot - looked off the pace all game and failed to inspire Queensland in attack as they were thrashed 38-18 by the Blues in Melbourne.

Tabuai-Fidow shone at fullback after replacing Walsh in Game 1 and kept his stunning record of scoring in every Origin match he's played in with a second half try against the Blues at the MCG. It was the Hammer's ninth try in just six Origin appearances for the Maroons, and came after the centre suffered a shoulder injury in the first half that saw him leave the field, before returning for the second 40 minutes.

Reece Walsh and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.
Many Maroons fans think Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow would be a better option at fullback for Queensland in the State of Origin than Reece Walsh. Pic: Getty

Hammer's brave effort came in contrast to Walsh, who was caught out of position for NSW's third try and showed a lack of urgency to get across in cover when NSW man of the match Mitchell Moses put a superb grubber in for Brian To'o to score. With NSW running rampant in a record 34-0 first half mauling, Walsh seemed a step or two off the pace and out of position almost every time the Blues went through.

The Maroons No.1 only showed glimpses of his attacking threat but was undone by errors and ill-timed passes and appeared to be a bit gun-shy after the Game 1 concussion. Walsh also got smashed in defence by Latrell Mitchell on a number of occasions as NSW proved far more physical than the Maroons. Some critics even went as far as saying that Walsh had a greater impact on Game 1, where the Hammer shone in his absence and Selwyn Cobbo - left out of Billy Slater's squad for Game 2 - wreaked havoc at centre.

Walsh has been a revelation at fullback for Queensland in the past but calls have been growing from Maroons fans to give Tabuai-Fidow the No.1 jersey for the decider at Suncorp Stadium on July 17 - provided he's fit. Sidelined Newcastle superstar Kalyn Ponga is expected the return to the NRL within the next month and looms as another option, while Titans gun AJ Brimson is also close to returning from injury, providing Slater with plenty of headaches heading into Game 3.

Tabuai-Fidow's shoulder problem sees the Hammer facing a battle to be fit for the Origin decider in three weeks, with scans to determine the extent of the 22-year-old's AC injury. He received pain-killing injections in his right shoulder after exiting the game midway through the first half, before making his return to the field after the break.

Pictured here, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow in State of Origin Game 2.
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow is facing a fitness battle for the State of Origin decider after picking up a shoulder injury for the Maroons in Game 2. Pic: AAP

The Dolphins fullback is set to miss Saturday's away clash with St George Illawarra and his side has a bye the following week, meaning he won't play again before the Maroons squad is named for Game 3. Tabuai-Fidow's shoulder was reportedly sore on Thursday morning and would be for several weeks but Slater said it was too early to say if the issue would keep the Hammer out of the Origin decider.

"I wouldn't have a clue," the Maroons coach said. "I think he has picked up an AC (joint) injury. It was a tough effort for him to get back out there. He obviously wasn't 100 per cent, but he knew the team needed him." If the Hammer is ruled out of the Suncorp Stadium showdown for Game 3, Cobbo will almost certainly come back into the Queensland side at centre, where he played so well in Sydney.


Slater will also surely be tempted to recall David Fifita to his side after overlooking the Titans wrecking ball for the first two games, despite his strong form in the NRL. The Maroons' forward pack was out-muscled and out-enthused by the Blues in Melbourne, but Slater refused to confirm whether changes would be made.

"I think the whole dressing room in there is pretty disappointed. It was a tough old first half," Slater said. "It felt like we couldn't stop the momentum of the game. Part of that is on us. We will look at our game and work out what we need to adjust and what we need to go after. One thing I do know is that there is another game in three weeks. I thought our start was OK. We held them out for a few sets and then they broke and got a try and it was all downhill from there."

with agencies