QUEENSLAND coach Kevin Walters has named two debutants to face New South Wales in Origin I next Wednesday night.
North Queensland centre Justin O’Neill will fill the boots of retired great Justin Hodges and Brisbane giant Corey Oates will start on the left wing with Darius Boyd named fullback.
“I’m excited for Justin O’Neill. He’s flourished at the Cowboys,” Maroons captain Cameron Smith said.
“I’m also very pleased for Corey Oates. Both debutants deserve to be here.”
Walters announced his team at a gala dinner on Tuesday night with Newcastle outside back Dane Gagai retaining his place on the wing after debuting in the Maroons’ 52-6 rout of the Blues in game three last year.
The Maroons have stayed loyal to prop Nate Myles despite struggling for Manly at club level.
Smith came to the defence of Myles.
“I’ve never played a game with Nate where he’s let his teammates down,” Smith said.
“I’m not concerned about what’s being said about his form.”
Broncos workhorse Josh McGuire is back in the side on the bench after he missed game three last year due to injury.
His teammate Sam Thaiday will start in the backrow alongside clubmate Matt Gillett, while Jacob Lillyman is 18th man.
Smith said his side had their work cut out for them.
“We haven’t got a good record in Sydney,” he said. “Conditions are different to up here where most of our guys play. We spoke about it briefly today to get our heads around preparing. Game one is important to base your series around.”
Walters said he’s planning to bring some developing players into camp for the week.
“It’s the next best thing for these guys is to be around our team,” he said.
“They learn more from the players than the coaches.”Queensland team for game one: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Greg Inglis 4. Justin O’Neill 5. Dane Gagai 6. Johnathan Thurston 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Matt Scott 9. Cameron Smith (c) 10. Nate Myles 11. Matt Gillett 12. Sam Thaiday 13. Corey Parker
Interchange: 14. Michael Morgan 15. Josh McGuire 16. Aidan Guerra 17. Josh Papalii
18th man: Jacob Lillyman
Source : Fox Sports