'Got to be joking': Queensland savaged over team for Origin II

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·Sports Editor
·3-min read
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Paul Green, pictured here during Game I of the State of Origin series.
Queensland coach Paul Green looks on during Game I of the State of Origin series. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Fans are tipping NSW to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the State of Origin series after Queensland made five changes and handed teenage fullback Reece Walsh a debut for Game II.

Walsh has been thrust into a State of Origin debut after just seven NRL games, named at fullback for Queensland in Sunday's must-win game at Suncorp Stadium.

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The 18-year-old Warriors phenom has scored four tries since making a mid-season switch from Brisbane this year.

He is one of two debutants named by coach Paul Green as the Maroons look to keep the series alive after being flogged 50-6 in the opening game in Townsville.

North Queensland forward Frank Molo is the other debutant, named on a power-packed bench that includes Moeaki Fotuaika and David Fifita.

Cronulla winger Ronaldo Mulitalo is part of the extended squad for the first time as 19th man, with Coen Hess named 18th man.

Walsh will be the second-least experienced player to debut for the Maroons after Ben Ikin, who was selected in 1995 during the Super League war after just four first-grade appearances.

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Walsh's selection came about after injuries to AJ Brimson (knee) and Kalyn Ponga (groin), meaning Valentine Holmes will give up the No.1 jersey and move to the wing.

Brisbane's Xavier Coates has been axed as a result, with Kyle Feldt retaining his spot on the other wing.

A hamstring injury to hooker Harry Grant means a return to Origin for St George Illawarra's Andrew McCullough, who hasn't played for the Maroons after appearing in all three games in 2018.

Reece Walsh, pictured here in action for the Warriors against Newcastle.
Reece Walsh in action for the Warriors against Newcastle. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Dragons teammate Ben Hunt will take Brimson's utility role on the bench, with Fifita dropping out of the starting line-up to allow for Josh Papalii's return after missing Game I with suspension.

The Canberra enforcer's selection means Tino Fa'asuamleaui moves to lock with Jai Arrow forming the second-row alongside Melbourne's Felise Kaufusi.

Bench forwards Joe Ofahengaue and Jaydn Su'a are the other casualties from Queensland's Game I humiliation.

Fans had some savage reactions to the team announcement on social media, with many tipping NSW to repeat their drubbing from the opening game.

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QUEENSLAND TEAM

Reece Walsh, Valentine Holmes, Kurt Capewell, Dane Gagai, Kyle Feldt, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans (capt), Christian Welch, Andrew McCullough, Josh Papalii, Jai Arrow, Felise Kaufusi, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Moeaki Fotuaika, David Fifita, Frank Molo. Reserves: Coen Hess, Ronaldo Mulitalo.

with AAP

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