(L-R) Christian Welch, Harry Grant and Brenko Lee are all in the running for the Origin decider. Picture: Adam Head
(L-R) Christian Welch, Harry Grant and Brenko Lee are all in the running for the Origin decider. Picture: Adam Head

Wild about Harry: Maroons eye at least three changes

Wayne Bennett has promised to make changes to the Maroons as dynamite hooker Harry Grant bolted into the mix for next week's State of Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium.

Bennett will wield the axe on Queensland following Wednesday's 34-10 loss to NSW at ANZ Stadium and could thrust Grant into a decider 17 years after his mentor Cameron Smith debuted in the Origin arena.

The 24-point defeat in Game Two ensured the series heads to a deciding third match next Wednesday night where the Maroons will look to snap a two-year losing streak.

After producing a spirited comeback win in Game One, the Maroons were outclassed by the Blues in what was a comprehensive win by NSW to keep the series alive.

Harry Grant is yet to play an Origin game. Picture: Adam Head
Harry Grant is yet to play an Origin game. Picture: Adam Head

The loss will trigger changes in Camp Maroon, with Bennett to axe winger Phillip Sami and recall in-form prop Christian Welch, who missed the match following a Game One concussion.

Props Moeaki Fotuaika and Dunamis Lui are fighting for their spots while there is a slim chance fullback Valentine Holmes could be shifted to his most dangerous position on the wing, with Corey Allan in the mix for No. 1.

Hooker Jake Friend will be retained, but Bennett will consider blooding livewire No. 9 Grant as he mulls over whether to keep utility Ben Hunt in the 17.

Five-eighth Cameron Munster suffered concussion in the second minute of the Sydney match but will be named to start in the No. 6 jersey.

 

(L-R) Christian Welch, Harry Grant and Brenko Lee are all in the running for the Origin decider. Picture: Adam Head
(L-R) Christian Welch, Harry Grant and Brenko Lee are all in the running for the Origin decider. Picture: Adam Head

 

 

"I have Welch and Munster coming back, so there'll be some changes," he said.

"I need to talk to my coaching staff and have a look at some vision of the game. If I can pick a better team, I will pick a better team.

"Some guys didn't damage their reputations, other guys did, so I need to have a good think about what we do."

Grant was one of the finds of the NRL season, claiming the Dally M rookie of the year award following a sensational year on loan to the Wests Tigers.

While the Storm hooker will not unseat Friend for the No. 9 jersey, Bennett could blood Grant off the bench to give the Maroons some spark around the ruck.

 

"Harry Grant will certainly come into the mix somewhere," Bennett said.

"Jake Friend is playing his heart out for us, he has given everything in his 160 minutes of Origin and can't do any more than he has. He would be getting tired because he hadn't played for almost a month.

"I have great faith in Jake, but Harry playing some sort of role will be on the table."

Sami performed admirably in Game One on short notice, but his performance in Sydney was well short of what is required in the Origin arena.

He was outplayed comprehensively by rival winger Josh Addo-Carr, with the likes of Edrick Lee, Brenko Lee and Allan to come into consideration for Game Three.

Dragons prop Josh Kerr is also pushing hard for selection if Bennett opts to mix up his front row rotation.

 

POSSIBLE QUEENSLAND SQUAD

1 Valentine Holmes, 2 Xavier Coates, 3 Kurt Capewell, 4 Brenko Lee, 5 Dane Gagai, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Christian Welch, 9 Jake Friend, 10 Josh Papalii, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Jaydn Su'A, 13 Tino Fa'asuamaleaui. Bench: 14 Harry Grant/Ben Hunt, 15 Jai Arrow, 16 Lindsay Collins, 17 Josh Kerr/Dunamis Lui.

Originally published as Wild about Harry: Maroons eye at least three changes


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