NRL grand final hero Ryan Papenhuyzen has been ruled out of the State of Origin opener with a calf injury while Coen Hess has been recalled and eight debutants named in Wayne Bennett’s Queensland.
Clive Churchill Medallist Papenhuyzen was next in line to replace star New South Wales full-back James Tedesco should he fail to pass Saturday’s fitness test on his injured knee.
- NSW and Queensland have reduced their squads to 21 ahead of the first State of Origin game in Adelaide on November 4
- The highest profile change is Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, who has been ruled out with a calf injury
- Including reserves, Queensland has named 12 players who have no previous Origin experience in their squad
Tedesco has been named at full-back, with Papenhuyzen’s bench spot now Cody Walker’s to lose ahead of Wednesday’s opener in Adelaide.
Meanwhile Bennett has sprung a surprise by recalling hulking North Queensland back-rower Hess to the starting side in his preliminary 21-man squad.
Hess played the last of his five Origins in 2018 but could be in line for a shock return in Bennett’s underdog side if the master coach doesn’t tinker with the make-up named on Thursday.
AJ Brimson has been picked at fullback while Gold Coast winger Phillip Sami and Brisbane 19-year-old Xavier Coates have been selected on the wings for their debuts.
With Storm centre Brenko Lee at centre, South Sydney’s Dane Gagai is the only backline member named with Origin experience.
Sydney Roosters hooker Jake Friend has been named to debut at number nine, with Storm monster Tino Faasuamaleaui bumping lock Jai Arrow to the bench.
Cameron Munster is set to overcome a knee niggle and play in the halves with captain Daly Cherry-Evans while Ben Hunt and uncapped duo Jaydn Su’a and Lindsay Collins are the other reserves named.
Boom Titans forward Moeaki Fotuaika, Penrith utility Kurt Capewell, Dumamis Lui and Hymel Hunt have been named as reserves and could add to Queensland’s massive debutant list if Bennett shuffles his deck closer to Wednesday’s kick-off.
Clint Gutherson, Luke Keary and Junior Paulo are in line for Blues debuts while the uncapped Cameron McInnes, Nathan Brown and Zac Lomax are on the extended bench.
Papenhuyzen didn’t train with the squad on Thursday, while Roosters star Tedesco trained away from the main squad.
“I don’t think [I’ll play] at this stage, it’s about managing the calf,” he said prior to the announcement.
“There’s a little bit of a tear in it from midway through the second half on the weekend.
“Adrenaline kicked in there but the next day I was pretty sore.”
Named in the number one jersey, Tedesco will be given until Saturday to prove his fitness, when the team has their biggest training hit-out of the week.
Meanwhile, forward Jake Trbojevic brushed off concerns he suffered a foot injury at training after failing to complete the session.
The Manly star walked off the field and received physio treatment on his right foot, which was iced while he watched teammates go through their drills.
Prop Daniel Saifiti also didn’t train, but Blues officials said it was about managing his workload.
QLD squad: Alexander Brimson, Xavier Coates, Brenko Lee, Dane Gagai, Phillip Sami, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans, Christian Welch, Jake Friend, Josh Papalii, Felise Kaufusi, Coen Hess, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui; Ben Hunt, Lindsay Collins, Jai Arrow, Jaydn Su’a.
Reserves: Kurt Capewell, Moeaki Fotuaika, Dunamis Lui, Hymel Hunt.
NSW squad: James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou, Clint Gutherson, Jack Wighton, Josh Addo-Carr, Luke Keary, Nathan Cleary, Daniel Saifiti, Damien Cook, Junior Paulo, Boyd Cordner, Tyson Frizell, Jake Trbojevic; Cody Walker, Payne Haas, Cameron Murray, Angus Crichton.
Reserves: Cameron McInnes, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Nathan Brown, Zac Lomax.