Cameron Smith has urged Queensland selectors to pick a fully fit squad for Origin II, saying the number of players who carried injuries into Wednesday’s match was partly to blame for the Maroons’ humiliating defeat.
NSW clocked up a record-breaking 50-6 win in Townsville as Tom Trbojevic, Latrell Mitchell and Brian To’o all scored multiple tries.
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Queensland was missing key players like Kalyn Ponga and Josh Papalii because of injury and suspension, and there were question marks surrounding some of its players in the days leading up to Origin I.
Harry Grant was preferred at hooker over Reed Mahoney despite having played barely any football this year for the Storm due to injury. The livewire No. 9 started strongly but faded and was one of many Maroons who failed to deliver their best.
Cameron Munster was battling a foot injury and Dane Gagai was reportedly struck down by illness before the series opener.
Smith revealed too many players were unable to train properly in camp, which hurt Queensland.
“There’s going to be some big calls made to get the correct line-up to match the Blues in Game 2,” he told Andrew Voss on 1170 SEN radio.
“I think what needs to happen, and I’m very hopeful of this, is that for Game 2 we need to pick players that are fit, that aren’t carrying injuries into the match and they need to have a solid preparation.
“For Game 1 — and this is no excuse at all — but for Game 1 they had players that couldn’t take the field for training sessions early in the camp. They missed two or three training sessions early and could only take part in those team sessions late in the camp.
“They just can’t afford that for Game 2. They need to have 17 fit players to have a really solid preparation leading into that game.”
Harry Grant was short of a gallop.Source:Getty Images
Smith said it would have been a “better ploy” to pick Mahoney at hooker and keep Grant on the bench because he was underdone.
“That’s just human, isn’t it? He hadn’t played for five weeks, and same with Cameron Munster,” Smith said. “You could tell they were short of a run.
“They’re asked to come up and play the highest intensity of any football that’s going to be played this year.”
Queensland coach Paul Green alluded to his side’s poor preparation in the post-match press conference, but spoke more about the team’s execution at training rather than being hampered by injuries.
“It’s a new group in some respects, a new coach,” Green said when asked what went wrong with the Maroons’ preparation.
“What I probably might have let go during the week in terms of execution, I may not have had I had a bit more of a bond with the team. Bond’s probably not the right word — had I had a bit more experience with them.
“It’s about learning from it and making sure we don't let it happen again.”
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