Harry Grant’s breakout 2020 season will end in a State of Origin debut as Queensland take a much-changed team into next week’s series decider against NSW.
- Queensland names Cameron Munster at 6 for State of Origin Game III, Christian Welch returns
- NSW makes no changes to its matchday 17, with three changes on the reserves
- Queensland Government eases restrictions on attendees at Lang Park, meaning 52,500 could be in attendance
Grant, the Dally M and RLPA rookie of the year, is one of three changes to the Maroons’ line-up in the wake of their heavy 34-10 defeat to the Blues in Game II on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old, who starred on loan at Wests Tigers from Melbourne in the NRL season, is one of three changes to Queensland’s team as they aim to win their first series in three years.
Grant will start on the bench in the number 14 jersey, replacing Ben Hunt in the utility role with the St George Illawarra star dropping out of the 17.
South Sydney’s 22-year-old flier Corey Allan will also debut for the Maroons, replacing Phillip Sami on the left wing.
The other change made by Bennett is the return of Christian Welch at prop after he missed Game II to allow him to recover from a head knock.
Dunamis Lui drops to the bench to make way for Welch with Game II debutant Moeaki Fotuaika joining Hunt on the four-man reserves list along with Edrick Lee and Brenko Lee.
Melbourne premiership-winner Lee, who missed out on a debut in Game I after being a late scratching due a calf injury, could yet come into the 17 in place of Allan if he can prove his fitness at the Maroons’ training session on Sunday.
Cameron Munster has been named at five-eighth but can only play if he passes NRL concussion protocols after being taken out of Game II in just the third minute due to a head knock.
Fullback Valentine Holmes said Munster had been his normal “lippy” self since Wednesday’s loss and deserved to be given every chance to prove his fitness for game three.
“He has played in grand finals, Origins, big games. He is someone we definitely need to have,” Holmes said.
“He is an experienced player in our team and in the leadership team.
“We need him on the field.”
The Maroons earlier received a huge boost from the Queensland Government who announced it would allow Lang Park to operate at its full capacity of 52,500 in the decider.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palasczcuk revealed on Friday her Government was easing several COVID-19 restrictions from 4:00pm Tuesday, including the limit on open-air stadiums to operate at 75 per cent capacity.
With the borders closed between NSW and Queensland, Blues’ fans will be in the minority at the venue, where NSW have won just twice since 2010.
“I think Queenslanders are going to be very, very happy with this outcome,” Palaszczuk told reporters.
Queensland has won 37 out of 58 games at Lang Park.
Meanwhile, New South Wales coach Brad Fittler has named an unchanged squad through 1-17 from the Blues’ resounding 34-10 victory in Sydney.
Ryan Papenhuyzen, Jarome Luai and Nic Cotric have been named on the extended bench.
Queensland Maroons squad: 1. Valentine Holmes, 2. Xavier Coates, 3. Kurt Capewell, 4. Dane Gagai, 5. Corey Allan, 6. Cameron Munster,7. Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8. Christian Welch, 9. Jake Friend, 10. Josh Papalii, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Jaydn Su’A, 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, 14. Harry Grant, 15. Lindsay Collins, 16. Jai Arrow, 17. Dunamis Lui, 18. Ben Hunt, 19. Edrick Lee, 20. Moeaki Fotuaika, 21. Brenko Lee.
NSW Blues squad: 1. James Tedesco (c), 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Clint Gutherson, 4. Jack Wighton, 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cody Walker, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. Daniel Saifiti, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Angus Crichton, 12. Tyson Frizell, 13. Jake Trbojevic, 14. Dale Finucane, 15. Junior Paulo, 16. Nathan Brown, 17. Isaah Yeo, 18. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 19. Jarome Luai, 20. Cameron McInnes, 21. Nic Cotric.