Jarrod Wallace during the Queensland State of Origin team training session
Jarrod Wallace during the Queensland State of Origin team training session DAVE HUNT

Maroons make seven changes for Origin Game 2

QUEENSLAND coach Kevin Walters has ruthlessly overhauled the Maroons in a bid to save the series, as they prepare for one of their toughest battles yet.

Walters and his fellow selectors, Darren Lockyer and Gene Miles, confirmed on Monday that fullback Billy Slater will make his return along with champion five-eighth Johnathan Thurston.

Seven players will be missing from the side that was thumped 28-4 in the series opener at Suncorp Stadium.

Nate Myles, Sam Thaiday, Jacob Lillyman, Corey Oates, Aidan Guerra and Justin O'Neill have all been made the scapegoats for Queensland's shocking Game One loss to NSW, while Anthony Milford was unavailable through injury.

"Thaiday, Lillyman and Guerra ... all have been long term players for Queensland. Given recent results we felt like we needed changes,” Walters said.

"We didn't get the result we needed in game one so we went to plan B to bring some new players in the team which haven't played Origin.

"The transition period for Queensland is now.”

In their place, the Maroons will blood four debutants in Valentine Holmes, Coen Hess, Tim Glasby and Jarrod Wallace, while also bringing back some experience in the form of Slater, Thurston and Cowboys enforcer Gavin Cooper.

"We've picked who we feel are the best 17 for Queensland,” Walters said.

"It's going to be great with Billy Slater.

"His omission in game one was a tough decision. We are excited about his inclusion and we'll need all the greatness that Billy Slater brings.

"The time is right for Valentine Holmes, he's the current Australian winger, leaving him on the sideline was not the right option for game two.

"I don't think he can do anymore, so he deserves an opportunity to show what he can do.”

Despite being named, Wallace is in doubt for next week's clash, as he prepares to front the judiciary tomorrow night to fight suspension for a shoulder charge.

"There's a loophole in the rule would enable the QRL to pull out of the Wallace situation where he could serve his term ... we won't taking that option. But the QRL will be putting all their resources into proving his innocence.” said QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher.



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