Maroons only need one change: Walters
Melbourne Storm Assistant Coach and Queensland Origin great Kevin Walters gives NRL.com his exclusive view on the Maroons' line-up and chances for Game II of the 2011 Harvey Norman State of Origin Series at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Wednesday, June 15.
Walters, 43, played 20 games for Queensland from 1989-99, eight Tests for Australia from 1990-98 and 287 NRL First Grade Games between 1987 and 2001 (46 for the Raiders and 241 for the Broncos).
The Maroons will only need to make one change for Game II ... but it will add a potent weapon to their artillery.
Greg Inglis is an obvious addition, coming in for the injured Willie Tonga. I would keep the rest of the team the same, which is in keeping with the Queensland policy of showing loyalty to their players. I see no reason for changing that.
Game I 18th man Dave Taylor would be one in close contention again though, as would David Shillington if he wasn't injured. Justin Hodges is in the same boat, but I haven't considered him because of injury also.
While most of the Queensland team have played a lot together, Game I is like coming off a long off-season. It's hard to hit the ground running, so they will improve for Game II - and they need to, particularly in attack. NSW did defend very well in Game I.
That is where Inglis will make a big difference. He is very prolific with try-scoring and line breaks at that level - and he will have one game under his belt against us (the Storm) on Sunday.
Even though he hasn't played since injuring his hip in the Anzac Test four weeks ago, at Origin level he doesn't go too many games without scoring a try. And he likes to go to the air, which is something Queensland didn't do as much in Game 1 as when Inglis plays.
The kicking game from Johnathan Thurston and Darren Lockyer in Game I was outstanding, but I haven't see them play a bad one at that level. It's one area where NSW need to improve.
That's been the big advantage for Queensland in the last couple of years in their sequence of wins: those two players with their kicking.
In heavy traffic when Thurston and Lockyer are either side of the ruck - and throw in Cam Smith who can kick too - it's a lethal combination.
I thought NSW were very good in the first game. In fact they have been good over the past five years, but in the critical moments Queensland always finds something.
I know what I would do for NSW to improve their team ... but I am not going to tell them! They will be better again this time.
In terms of selections, I would probably put Jarryd Hayne in for Brett Morris if he is ruled out with injury and give Jamal Idris a run.
I know Ricky stated he wanted the selectors to show loyalty to the team for Game 1 ... but I guess he may find a spot for players like Kurt Gidley or Luke Lewis who weren't considered for the first game because of injury.
I must admit I was a little nervous in the last six minutes of Game 1 with the Blues leading, but I also still felt there was plenty of time.
Those boys in the QLD line-up have been in that position so many times ... and they keep delivering.
My XXXX Queensland team for Origin II is:
1. Billy Slater (Storm)
2. Darius Boyd (Dragons)
3. Dane Nielsen (Storm)
4. Greg Inglis (Rabbitohs)
5. Jharal Yow Yeh (Broncos)
6. Darren Lockyer (c) (Broncos)
7. Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)
8. Matthew Scott (Cowboys)
9. Cameron Smith (Storm)
10. Petero Civoniceva (Panthers)
11. Nate Myles (Roosters)
12. Sam Thaiday (Broncos)
13. Ashley Harrison (Titans)
14. Cooper Cronk (Storm)
15. Corey Parker (Broncos)
16. Jacob Lillyman (Warriors)
17. Ben Hannant (Broncos)
18th man: David Taylor (Rabbitohs)
The NSW VB Blues team will be named on Sunday and the XXXX Maroons will be named on Tuesday.