Maroons set to pick Walsh for Origin in Melbourne

Joel Gould |

Reece Walsh is set to be selected for Queensland in game two of the State of Origin series in what looms as a massive boost to the Maroons.

The 21-year-old fullback was concussed in the seventh minute of Queensland’s 38-10 game one win in Sydney after a high shot by Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii.

He has since undergone all required protocols while back with club side Brisbane after his mandatory 11-day stand down, in which he missed NRL clashes with Cronulla and South Sydney. 

As long as he passes final tests in camp, Walsh will take the field against NSW at the MCG on June 26.

“I have been talking to Reece over the last week and he has been ticking all the boxes and being really professional away from playing,” Maroons coach Billy Slater told Channel Nine on Sunday.

Parramatta lock J’maine Hopgood, who made his Origin debut in Sydney, is likely to miss selection with a back injury after he was unavailable for the NRL match against Sydney Roosters on Saturday.

Dolphins veteran Felise Kaufusi would then slot in on the bench after he was 18th man in game one but was activated and played when Walsh let the field.

Felise Kaufusi.
Felise Kaufusi is set to be named on the bench for Queensland after coming on in game one. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

The Blues have selected South Sydney fullback Latrell Mitchell at centre for game two. Mitchell last played for NSW in 2021 when he was a key man in a 2-1 series win.

“At the end of the day, you are going to be playing against quality no matter who is in the team,” Slater said when asked about Mitchell..

“We certainly do our due diligence in preparation against the opposition and give them respect, but at the same time you’ve got to give your own footy the respect and that is about going after your own game.” 

The Maroons’ dissatisfaction with their overall game in Sydney, despite their win, extended to the support staff.

“I don’t think our footy was consistent. We really swung in and out of that game,” team manager and former Queensland forward Nate Myles said. 

 “We had a style of football we wanted to play but we didn’t execute it right.”

POSSIBLE QUEENSLAND TEAM: 1 Reece Walsh, 2 Xavier Coates, 3 Valentine Holmes, 4 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow , 5 Murray Taulagi, 6 Tom Dearden, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans, 8 Reuben Cotter, 9 Ben Hunt, 10 Lindsay Collins, 11 Jaydn Su’A, 12 Jeremiah Nanai, 13 Patrick Carrigan, 14 Harry Grant, 15 Moeaki Fotuaika, 16 Felise Kaufusi, 17 Selwyn Cobbo.