Stage set for rookies to rise: Walters

Valentine Holmes' last game at Suncorp Stadium was in 2013 in front of a few thousand people; Cameron Munster has never played before less than 40,000 in four visits to the venue.

It has been the home ground for Origin debutant Ben Hunt and second-gamer Jarrod Wallace but Queensland coach Kevin Walters believes that the impetuousness of the modern youth will be his side's trump card and not their Achilles heel in Wednesday night's decider.

The Maroons have not lost a Game Three decider since New South Wales won a third straight series in 2005 but this is a far different looking team than those which have triumphed in the six times the series has gone the distance since.

Seven members of the 17 who carry the hopes of a state accustomed to success have or will make their Origin debuts in 2017 with Munster and Hunt to debut in the most intense atmosphere the game has to offer.


If generation next can complete their comeback and clinch the series with a win on Wednesday night they have the potential to usher in a new Queensland Origin dynasty and Walters is adamant they won't be overawed by the occasion.

"The guys that are coming into the side [have experience in big games]," Walters said on the eve of Game Three.

"Cameron Munster played in a grand final last year, albeit a losing one. Likewise with Ben Hunt, he's played in grand finals and big end-of-season games.

"We expect them to handle the situation. Young players are different from 10-15 years ago. They come in with a big expectation on them and they love the challenge.

"That's just the way they are built these days."

Despite being in his fourth year in the Telstra Premiership Holmes has incredibly never played an NRL game at Suncorp Stadium, his two games against the Broncos to date both taking place in Cronulla.

The Sharks winger was a member of the Queensland under-18 team in 2013 that was humiliated 56-6 by a Blues side boasting Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Alex Johnston, Sione Mata'utia and Jackson Hastings but knows just how special a place the venue holds in the heart of all Queensland kids.

"It's every kid's dream," Holmes said. "I followed the Broncos and Cowboys as a kid and it's always everyone's dream.

"The greats they had with Darren Lockyer and Wendell Sailor and Lote Tuqiri and all those guys and Wally Lewis, you want to put on that jersey that they all threw on.

"Everyone here telling you how good that stadium is, it's one of the best stadiums they say in the world to play at with the atmosphere.

"For the fans it makes you feel like you're right there and in the game.

"I haven't played a first grade game there so I don't really know what it's like.

"I'm excited to get out there on Wednesday."

No Queensland half in the history of three-match Origin series has been thrust in to make their debut in the final game of the series but Munster possesses an inner confidence that suggests the occasion will bring the best out in him.

Certain to be targeted by the Blues forwards patrolling the right edge, Munster played in front of 133,019 people in three games in last year's finals series and will be asked to play a prominent role for the Maroons.

"I'm very excited by the opportunity that is in front of Cameron," Walters said.

"His form at the Storm this year has been excellent. He's got a great combination with the other Storm players in our team.

"He's been in our system with the QAS Emerging Programs for quite some time.

"From a rugby league point of view, a decider at Suncorp, I don't think it gets much better than that for any sort of player.

"I think that's what excites him and everyone around the team the most."

As for the coach – who played in three Game Three deciders as a player – the fate of the state's rugby league team will be out of his hands by the time they run out onto the field just after 8pm.

"It's Origin. We've seen these games go to the wire and we've seen teams play well and still get beaten," Walters said.

"We are confident but we understand the potency of this NSW team and what they did here six weeks ago. They put the cleaners through us so we are very respectful of that as well."

"When you're up in the coach's box you don't miss tackles and drop footballs like I used to do at this level.

"We've had a great week. I'm going to be nervous because it's a big occasion, but I think what better group of players to be out there doing their best for Queensland than the group of 17 we've got now."