Cowboys rep quartet need to hit form before Origin: Walters
Queensland coach Kevin Walters wants a quartet of North Queensland representative stars to find top form soon with just a month go before the Maroons side is selected.
The Maroons want to pick veteran forwards Matt Scott and Gavin Cooper, rising star Coen Hess and five-eighth Michael Morgan in the opening game of the Holden State of Origin series in Melbourne on June 6.
But they need to improve for their club side, starting with the round-nine clash between the Cowboys and Penrith.
The Maroons have lost Matt Gillett from Origin I due to a neck injury and Josh McGuire (ankle) and Tim Glasby (thumb) are racing the clock, which means Scott and Cooper will be vital in Melbourne.
"Their experience always means a lot around Origin time and both of them are playing some good football," Walters told NRL.com.
"They are not at the peak of their powers right now but we have still got a month of footy to go before we sit down and select the team, so you’d expect in a month’s time they will be firing on all cylinders which will be good for the Cowboys and, from a selfish point of view, very good for the Queensland Maroons as well.
"Coen Hess is in the same boat. He's doing some good things in games and is a great young fella."
The Maroons coach wants Morgan to focus on what he does best.
"Sometimes when you get in these slumps you get away from what you do really well," Walters said.
"His big strength is running the ball and I think we saw some glimpses of it last week [against Canberra].
"The more times he can challenge the line with that, the better his all-round game is going to go. I think he has been hampered a little bit by injuries but mentally he has to get on top of that and go out and do what he does best."
Walters said it would not count against the Cowboys candidates if their NRL side doesn't start winning while reiterating their own personal form was the key to selection.
"The issue for them is that they need to be playing well coming into Origin, and they are not far away," he said.
"We’ve seen some glimpses from all of them at different times of how good they can be."
Witness Australia's greatest sporting rivalry when Origin comes to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday, June 6. Tickets available at NRL.com/tickets.