Queensland Maroons selection winners and losers.
Queensland Maroons selection winners and losers.

Who won, who lost in Kevin Walters’ Maroons shake-up

KEVIN Walters has shaken up his losing Queensland side and will run out a new-look team in the third State of Origin rubber at Suncorp Stadium.

Daly Cherry-Evans is recalled after a three-year exile from the squad, punting Ben Hunt to the bench and leaving young gun Ash Taylor out in the cold altogether.

There's also a whole new front row and a backline shift to accommodate the injury to captain Greg Inglis.

Here are the Winners and Losers from the Maroons' Origin III team announcement.

WINNERS

Daly Cherry-Evans

Kevin Walters desperately wants to win Game III and says he needs Daly Cherry Evans' experience to do it.

He has plenty of it. He's represented Queensland six times since 2013, four as a utility sub and two as halfback.

The Sea Eagles skipper will have to lift to another level though, both times he replaced Cooper Cronk in the No.7 jersey the Blues won, including the drought-breaking series-clincher in 2014.

But he's been playing pretty consistent footy in clubland considering Manly's struggles, and without the pressure of keeping the series alive, he has a wonderful opportunity to press his claims for next year's series.

Jai Arrow

With the exception of Josh McGuire, the Maroons middle men have been far from consistent this series, but one player that has been almost as impressive as McGuire is Jai Arrow.

It is the 22-year-old Titan's first Origin series and he's been a standout when thrown into the action from the bench.

His Game II contribution in attack was double that of his teammate and starting bookend Jarrod Wallace, and he's been rewarded for it with a promotion to the run-on side.

He now has the opportunity to cement his spot in the team for many years to come.

Corey Oates

Oates made headlines earlier in the series when he said his Origin snub had put a fire in his belly.

He went out in his next club game and scored a contender for try of the season for the Broncos, and confidently told Fox Sports he hoped Walters was watching.

While Kevvie was happy to admit he was always keeping a close eye on Oates, he also made it clear that Dane Gagai and Val Holmes were ahead of him in the pecking order.

An opportunity has presented itself though, with Greg Inglis's withdrawal paving the way for a recall.

Tim Glasby

He was seen as a solution to tighten up the Maroons' defence in the middle third for Game II but ultimately missed out.

The Maroons pack hasn't fired on all cylinders this series, so Walters has made a few changes and the Storm big-bopper will make his third appearance for his state off the bench.

Having played in two games of Queensland's successful 2017 series, he's never tasted defeat at that level, and Walters will be hoping that rubs off on the rest of his players.

Billy Slater

He won't be going out a winner, with the Blues spoiling his party in Game II, but Billy the Kid will go out an Origin captain.

The only positive to come from Greg Inglis's injury is that another of Queensland's favourite sons will finally get to skipper the state he has spilled blood, sweat and tears for since 2004.

Slater has been an integral member of the Maroons dynasty, and with the mercurial fullback retiring from rep footy this is a fitting tribute.

LOSERS

Ben Hunt

It's back to the bench for Hunt, who was given two games to prove he could be Queensland's long-term halfback and failed.

Walters made the somewhat surprising admission he thought Hunt's game two was better than his game one, even though the halfback copped the brunt of criticism for the Maroons loss at ANZ Stadium.

Ultimately Walters said he axed Hunt for a lack of leadership in the halves, which he believes Cherry-Evans brings.

Hunt will now be asked to play the utility role which could include time at hooker, in the outside backs or even a floating middle position.

That's if he gets on the field at all.

Jarrod Wallace

He's been in hot form in the NRL for Gold Coast but Wallace hasn't been able to have the same impact at State of Origin level yet.

He ran for just 87 metres combined in games one and two, and Walters has punted him to the pine for the dead rubber in Brisbane.

Josh Papalii and rookie Jai Arrow have been preferred as the starting props, with Josh McGuire starting at lock.

Ironically, Wallace may yet see more game time in Origin III if he comes onto the field in the first half and can stay there for the remainder of the game.

Ash Taylor

The Gold Coast young gun was deemed "not ready" to make his State of Origin debut by Queensland selectors.

That's despite the fact we've seen the likes of 20-year-olds Kalyn Ponga and Nathan Cleary both play in this series already, and easily hold their own.

With Hunt in the gun many people were tipping Taylor to get the nod and come into the side at halfback, or at the very least grab the vacant spot on the bench.

But the Maroons opted to overlook the talented playmaker in favour of the experience of Daly Cherry-Evans.

Walters did, however, declare Taylor was certainly an Origin player of the future.

He'll just have to wait one more year.

Dylan Napa

He's been criticised for the first two games of the series, and it looks like he won't get a chance to redeem himself in the dead rubber.

Napa is named at 18th man but even if he can prove his fitness and overcome injury, Walters is likely to stick with the 17 he named on Monday.

If Napa is promoted to the side at the 11th hour, Tim Glasby is the man likely to make way.



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