Who is in line to replace Inglis for Maroons?

Greg Inglis will miss the State of Origin series with a knee injury.
Greg Inglis will miss the State of Origin series with a knee injury. DAVID MOIR

WITH Greg Inglis' season shattered after tearing his ACL in the opening match of the season, it's not just South Sydney left reeling from the injury.

State of Origin is just 11 weeks away which means the talk of state team changes is already running hot.

While it's normally NSW left with all the unanswered questions, this year it's Kevin Walters facing the first hurdle of the year.

The injury to Inglis has opened the door for a Maroon hopeful to push into the team but the question needs to be asked - will Walters bring in another centre or move Dane Gagai from the wing to his preferred position and name a new winger?

In last year's series, Inglis and Justin O'Neill was the centre pairing for all three games.

O'Neill will hold his spot at right centre but who fills the void on the left flank?

Gagai looms as the logical replacement having already tasted Origin last year and excelled in that arena.

But what if Walters wants to keep Gagai on the wing? What if the Newcastle speedster doesn't feature in his plans at all?

These are the backline options at his disposal.


Corey Oates and Dane Gagai are the incumbent Queensland wingers.

Gagai is also in the running for Inglis' left centre spot and will either be shifted across the park or remain on his right flank.

Oates should remain on his left wing but there's a couple of aspiring Maroons knocking at the door.

Valentine Holmes will play fullback when he returns for Cronulla, but he spent last season on the wing at club level and that's where he could come in handy for Walters.

He's injured at the moment but is undoubtedly one of the NRL's brightest backline stars, with speed to burn and an ability to find the tryline.

Cowboys premiership winner Kyle Feldt was pipped to a wing position by Gagai and Oates last year but many thought he deserved a call-up.

He's a big body similar to Oates, and his ability in the air makes him a dangerous attacking weapon.


Justin O'Neill is the incumbent right centre and should hold his spot in the Queensland side. His 2016 form was rewarded with two games for Australia at the Four Nations and if he carries that into this season Walters would be hard pressed finding a reason to drop him.

Melbourne talent Will Chambers missed the 2016 Origin series through injury, but played four consecutive games for Queensland prior to that.

He was on the right wing before an injury to Billy Slater in 2015 pushed him to left centre in place of Inglis.

Dane Gagai was the man to be called onto the left wing to replace Chambers in 2015, and he stayed there for all three games in the 2016 series.

He scored four tries all up, three of them coming in the one game as he led the Maroons to a 26-16 victory on home turf. His preferred position is at centre and he is a juicy option for Walters to consider.

Cameron Munster has been to Emerging Maroons camp and it's only a matter of time before Walters brings him into the fold.

He won't be playing five-eighth or fullback in 2017 - pending injuries - but is a real chance of winning a centre position.

Topics:  corey oates dane gagai greg inglis maroons state of origin 2017

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