State of Origin: Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater back for Queensland
Last Updated: 12/06/17 11:05am
Test stars Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater are among the seven changes to Queensland's team for the make-or-break second State of Origin game with New South Wales on June 21.
Stand-off Thurston missed the Maroons' opening 28-4 loss to the Blues with a shoulder injury while full-back Slater was surprisingly overlooked by coach Kevin Walters.
Walters wasted little time in reinstating the influential Thurston after his successful comeback from injury for North Queensland Cowboys last weekend, while Slater pressed his recall claims with his impressive form for the Melbourne Storm.
Walters reacted ruthlessly to Queensland's chastening defeat, dropping Test veteran Sam Thaiday along with Corey Oates, Aidan Guerra, Jacob Lillyman, Nate Myles and Justin O'Neill, while the injured Anthony Milford was also left out.
Promoted along with Thurston and Slater was Gavin Cooper and Origin debutants Valentine Holmes, Coen Hess, Tim Glasby and Jarrod Wallace.
"It's going to be great with Billy Slater. His omission in game one was a tough decision," said Walters.
"We are excited about his inclusion and we'll need all the greatness that Billy Slater brings.
"We didn't get the result that we needed. We went to plan B, which was always in our plans, to bring some new players in."
The bolter was Storm prop Tim Glasby, while Gold Coast front-rower Jarrod Wallace was called up but must first overcome a shoulder charge citing at the NRL judiciary hearing on Tuesday to take his place.
"The transition period for Queensland is right now. It's not next year, or the year after," Walters said.
"We just picked 17 players who we feel are the best 17 for Queensland."
Queensland have won 10 of the last 11 interstate series - including 22 match victories to 12 - but another defeat in Sydney on June 21 would hand this year's series to New South Wales, who named an unchanged side.
It is the first time since the Blues swept the Maroons in the 1991 series that they have kept their side intact.
New South Wales: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Brett Morris, 3 Josh Dugan, 4 Jarryd Hayne, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 James Maloney, 7 Mitchell Pearce; 8 Aaron Woods, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Andrew Fifita, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 12 Josh Jackson, 13 Tyson Frizell.
Interchange: 14 David Klemmer, 15 Wade Graham, 16 Jake Trbojevic, 17 Jack Bird.
Standby players: Matt Moylan, Jack De Belin, Tom Trbojevic.
Queensland: 1 Billy Slater, 2 Darius Boyd, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Valentine Holmes, 6 Johnathan Thurston, 7 Cooper Cronk; 8 Dylan Napa, 9 Cameron Smith (c), 10 Josh Papalii, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Matt Gillett, 13 Josh McGuire.
Interchange: 14 Michael Morgan, 15 Tim Glasby, 16 Coen Hess, 17 Jarrod Wallace.