QUEENSLAND hooker Cameron Smith says he is “surprised” NSW has made six changes ahead of State of Origin II.
Blues coach Ricky Stuart has dropped starting props Jason King and Kade Snowden for the must-win clash in Sydney next Wednesday and omitted starting hooker Dean Young.
Incumbent fullback Josh Dugan, winger Brett Morris and centre Michael Jennings were unavailable through injury, but Smith said there was not much more the dropped players could have done.
“I was a bit surprised by both front rowers being left out of the team,” he said yesterday at the Hyatt Regency Coolum.
“We had a fair bit of ball in that first half and they were on the back foot. It was hard for them to do too much.
“I was thinking Sticky (Stuart) would have kept them (King and Snowden), but in the end that was his decision.
"We all thought that they weren’t going to change too much this year, but they’ve made six (changes) now.
"That’s a fair few changes.”
Queensland has made just two changes. Superstar centre Greg Inglis replaces the injured Willie Tonga, and wrecking ball Dave Taylor has forced his way into the side at Jacob Lillyman’s expense.
Though Smith was critical of Stuart’s selection policy, he admitted Anthony Watmough, Luke Lewis and Kurt Gidley were strong additions to the side that lost game one 16-12.
“They’ve picked good players.
"They haven’t picked mugs,” he said. “He (Young) can probably count himself fairly unlucky after his effort in game one, but I don’t think it mattered who was playing there. Kurt was always coming back in.”
The Maroons have a fan day in Emerald today before returning to their Coolum camp. They will not hold a fan day or open training session on the Coast.
QUEENSLAND: 1. Billy Slater, 2. Darius Boyd, 3. Dane Nielsen, 4. Greg Inglis, 5. Jharal Yow Yeh, 6. Darren Lockyer (c), 7. Johnathan Turston, 8. Matthew Scott, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Petero Civoniceva, 11. Nate Myles, 12. Sam Thaiday, 13. Ashley Harrison, 14. Cooper Cronk, 15. Corey Parker, 16. Dave Taylor, 17. Ben Hannant, 18. Jacob Lillyman.
Check out http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au for a photo gallery of yesterday’s team announcement
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