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He's being "thrown into the lion's den" but the Maroons have full faith in teenager Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to rise to arguably rugby league's most daunting challenge in his Origin debut.

The Maroons will unleash the 19-year-old in July 14's Ampol State of Origin game-three dead rubber after rolling the dice and opting for an injection of youth in a bid to salvage much-needed pride.

The North Queensland speedster will start in the centres at the expense of Kurt Capewell after the Penrith star was tormented by Tom Trbojevic as NSW iced the Origin series in record breaking fashion.

Tabuai-Fidow is now set to stare down Manly X-factor Trbojevic in Origin III with Capewell slotting into a re-jigged Maroons back row.

QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher cannot wait to see the Cowboys youngster mix it with Trbojevic, who has scored a total of four tries in two convincing victories by the Blues including a hat-trick in the series opening 50-6 rout in Townsville.

"Tom can get outside of blokes but he [Tabuai-Fidow] has got acceleration and speed - it will be a good match-up," Hatcher told"It's nice having a specialist centre there.

"That doesn't denigrate in any way Capewell's attitude or effort but with the sheer size and speed of the NSW centres it is nice to have an actual specialist there for Queensland.

"What we want to see is an opportunity to move forward over the advantage line.

Graham Annesley weekly football briefing - Round 16

"The backs can't do too much unless you get over the advantage line, that's what we want to see - a bit of broken play, some line breaks."

Former Queensland speedster Mat Rogers conceded a difficult task awaited Tabuai-Fidow but believed it could be the making of the teenager.

"It will be a tough challenge. He has been thrown into the lion's den," the dual international told

Hammer time in Townsville

"But it can be the making of great players. I am looking forward to seeing how he goes."

The Cowboys gun first turned heads at just 17 when he starred in North Queensland's NRL Nines triumph in Perth in early 2020.

He made his NRL debut later that year and has racked up 11 tries from 23 games.

This year his strike rate is five tries in nine games along with nine line breaks and 21 tackle busts, averaging more than 100m a match after coming back from a six-week ankle injury.

He is yet to go head to head with Trbojevic this year after the Manly gun was rested post-Origin I for the Sea Eagles' 50-18 home win over the Cowboys in round 14.

In defence, the North Queensland youngster has a 91 per cent tackle efficiency, missing nine of 100 attempts.

But Rogers believed the key to Tabuai-Fidow's success was something that couldn't be measured in the stats column - his sheer speed.

"Look at Turbo and Josh Addo-Carr - they are the genuine speedsters of the game - and Tabuai-Fidow is up there with them," said Rogers, who played five Origins for Queensland before enjoying a successful rugby career with the Wallabies.

"Now they are matched up against each other which is something you want to see.

Mat Rogers played 77 games for the Titans between 2007-11 while also playing for the Sharks, Maroons and Kangaroos in a decorated career.
Mat Rogers played 77 games for the Titans between 2007-11 while also playing for the Sharks, Maroons and Kangaroos in a decorated career. ©NRL Photos

"A player like Trbojevic would have been licking his lips when he was marked up against Capewell.

"He didn't have to worry about showing him the sideline because he knew he could round him up.

"You want to take confidence away from the opposition, not give it to them. Now one thing Tommy won't be able to do is show Hamiso the outside because once he does Tommy will see a clean pair of heels."

Rogers expected the Maroons attack to fire with Capewell now in his preferred back-row spot.

"I felt bad for Kurt Capewell. He was up against it so much marking the premier attacking player in the game right now," he said.

"He is just not a centre. He has proven to be a great back-rower. I felt he was thrown to the wolves a bit. He got a bit of space in the last game when he was outside of Trbojevic a few times but he just didn't have the pace and that stifled our attack."

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