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Renouf: Why Maroons must inject fresh blood into team

Where do Queensland go from here? That's the million-dollar question.

The Maroons pride themselves on their loyalty. They have built dynasties on it.

But is it time to throw caution to the wind and blood some young fellas in State of Origin game three?

I think injecting too many rookies into the Origin arena at once can be a double-edged sword.

It can backfire spectacularly. Another heavy loss may do more harm than good to a kid's confidence and development.

But the Maroons need to try something to salvage some pride.

And bringing a couple of new faces into the outside backs to give them some genuine strike power is just what Queensland need.

Tabuai-Fidow finds space on the left

A few names have been tossed around like North Queensland's Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Murray Taulagi.

Whatever the Maroons selectors decide, it would be good to see a couple of young blokes with no fear. Get them out there and let them have a rip. It's worked in the past.

Experience counts in Origin and there has been talk of the likes of Will Chambers, Moses Mbye and Justin O'Neill bolstering the Maroons backline. No disrespect to them but Queensland needs to look forward.

Taulagi locks in his first NRL hat-trick

At the moment the Maroons can't match the Blues' speed.

In game two Queensland had a couple of opportunities on the NSW line and they couldn't penetrate. To be honest, the Maroons looked pedestrian.

That's taking nothing away from the Blues. To back up their record-breaking game one win with that Origin II performance was pretty special. It warrants respect and I have a lot for them.

On paper the Blues have always looked better.

Turbo saves a certain try to Coates

But this year they have clicked and Freddy Fittler has a lot to do with that.

He has picked players who are the best in their team or in their position and just let them play.

Their halves are amazing. Their forwards are aggressive and they kept Josh Papalii and Christian Welch pretty quiet.

And what a backline. Tom Trbojecic is out of position but is playing out of his skin and Latrell Mitchell is a special player.

It will be very tough for Queensland to bounce back.

Look at Queensland's NRL clubs - Brisbane, North Queensland and Gold Coast. They are struggling and usually when they are, so are the Maroons.

Those clubs need to take a hard look at their recruitment and how they are bringing young Queenslanders through the system.

To'o with one of the great Origin try-savers

Brisbane have already started the process and about time.

I never thought I would see the day but Brisbane did not have a player in the Queensland team for game two until Xavier Coates came in as a last-minute injury replacement for poor Reece Walsh, a former Bronco.

But I feel for Maroons coach Paul Green. He has been around. He is a premiership winning coach. But what he needs right now is a bit of support.

Even the great Wayne Bennett had Mal Meninga on his Maroons support staff last year. That was a smart move. I believe that was the difference in the end. Greeny needs Origin experience around him.

Johnathan Thurston is there and he was a great player but history shows that doesn't always make a great coach.

It takes time and, no disrespect to JT, but he has not long been out of the game.

I think Mal Meninga would again be a great fit. They could do worse by bringing him in for game three.

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Wayne is a legendary Maroons coach but Mal won eight in a row - he is No.1.

The return of Kalyn Ponga, AJ Brimson and Harry Grant from injury will help Queensland for the last game of the Ampol State of Origin series.

Especially Grant. He makes a difference in any team he plays in. He is very smart about the way he plays and has shown it at Origin level already.

And Ponga at the back will also change things.

A player I hope runs out for Queensland one day is Ronaldo Mulitalo.

Ronaldo Mulitalo in Maroons colours.
Ronaldo Mulitalo in Maroons colours. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

I was a bit embarrassed that an eligibility drama like that happened to Queensland, to be honest.

For a selection process that is supposed to be black and white, it seems there are still plenty of grey areas.

But I feel sorry for Ronaldo. I hope he is receiving the support he needs right now. He must be gutted, the poor kid.

Whoever Queensland pick, the question remains - can they turn it around?

All I know is people can have short memories when it comes to Origin. When the Maroons came back and won the series just last year with one of their most inexperienced line-ups, people were saying "how did that happen?"

I hope Queensland can start surprising people again sooner rather than later.


The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARL Commission, NRL clubs or state associations.

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