Maroons forced into desperate gamble
ANOTHER Queensland team change looks likely with centre Michael Morgan set to be benched for the State of Origin series decider following news Matt Gillett has suffered a groin injury.
Gillett is in major doubt for Wednesday's Origin III in Sydney after the Maroons rested the experienced back-rower for Sunday's key opposed session against the Queensland under 20s team in Brisbane.
In a move that raised eyebrows south of the Tweed, the Maroons took two days to reveal that their squad's most experienced forward had suffered groin soreness in Friday's training session.
It remains to be seen if Gillett plays, the Maroons giving the 20-game Origin veteran until the last minute to prove his fitness.
Queensland skipper Daly Cherry-Evans said on Monday Gillett won't find out if he is playing in the State of Origin series decider until the captain's run on Tuesday.
"He seems reasonably confident but he won't know until he has a run tomorrow to know how he is feeling," Cherry-Evans said ahead of Wednesday's game three in Sydney.
"I honestly don't know (if Gillett is playing) but he has been working flat out with the physio team," Cherry-Evans said.
"He will give himself every chance to play. I am pretty sure he will be training tomorrow (captain's run); we will find out where he is at then.
"If he doesn't play we are obviously going to miss him but it is a hypothetical, we just don't know yet.
"But regardless of who plays there is a lot of motivation for this side to win."
While the jury is out on his pack, coach Kevin Walters looks almost certain to rejig his backline for their must-win clash.
For the third time at Camp Maroon, bench utility Moses Mbye trained at left centre on Sunday in an indication that he will swap with Morgan. In the meantime the Maroons will be awaiting some positive news on the inspirational Gillett.
Teenager David Fifita is set to come off the bench and be injected into the starting second row with 18th man Ethan Lowe earning an Origin debut at ANZ Stadium if Gillett is ruled out.
But Brisbane hooker Ben Hunt hoped it wouldn't come to that.
"He (Gillett) would be a huge loss if he doesn't play," Hunt said. "He's played the most games in our squad. He's a huge presence in our team. We would definitely miss him." Queensland doctor Matt Hislop said Gillett had undergone scans but was reluctant to make a call just yet on the back-rower who will undergo treatment up to kick-off.
"We will continue to provide treatment and assess his progress to give him every opportunity to play," Hislop said.
Fellow Maroons back-rower Felise Kaufusi was backing Gillett to play. "There's a long way to go to game day," said Kaufusi. "I have some confidence he can be right for it.
"I have seen him walking around (at team hotel). We will give him all the time that he needs to get ready."
HOW TO WATCH STATE OF ORIGIN III
Game 3 at ANZ Stadium is scheduled to kick-off at 8.10pm (AEST). Channel 9's telecast of the match begins at 7pm (AEST). Fox League has a State of Origin special NRL Tonight from 5.30pm (AEST).
HOW THE SERIES IS POISED
The 2019 series is tied at 1-1 heading into the decider in Sydney.
Queensland won Game 1 at Suncorp Stadium 18-14.
NSW won Game 2 in Perth 38-6.
DAUNTING OMENS FACING NSW
NSW are a better side at ANZ Stadium. The Blues have won 17 games, lost nine and drawn one at the venue. However, since 2014, NSW and Queensland have won three apiece.
Since 1982, the series has come down to game three on 19 occasions with Queensland winning 13 (including the past seven), NSW four and two draws. Even in deciders played in NSW, Queensland have the superior record with four wins, two losses and one draw.
1. James Tedesco, 2. Blake Ferguson, 3. Tom Trbojevic, 4. Jack Wighton, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. James Maloney, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Boyd Cordner (c), 12. Tyson Frizell, 13. Jake Trbojevic. Bench: 14. Dale Finucane, 15. Daniel Saifiti, 16. Cameron Murray, 17. Wade Graham.
1. Cameron Munster, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Michael Morgan, 4. Will Chambers, 5. Dane Gagai, 6. Corey Norman, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8. Joe Ofahengaue, 9. Ben Hunt, 10. Josh Papalii, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. Josh McGuire. Interchange: 14. Moses Mbye, 15. Christian Welch, 16. Tim Glasby, 17. David Fifita. 18th man: Ethan Lowe.