Cameron Smith’s rep retirement hands a lifeline to struggling Maroons veterans
Matt Scott missed last year’s Origin series, but the Queensland veteran will be needed in Cameron Smith’s absence. (AAP: Dan Peled)
Queensland’s band of struggling veterans are set to receive a stay of execution following Cameron Smith’s shock representative retirement.
Despite being well below their best this NRL season, Darius Boyd and Matt Scott are set to receive a Maroons call-up because of the leadership vacuum left by Smith’s sudden exit.
Queensland were already missing Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk, who hung up their rep boots last year, and coach Kevin Walters said he would be relying on his remaining senior players to help steer his young Maroons through this year’s series.
“We’ve still got a couple of guys there who have played a lot of Origin football,” Walters said.
“With the retirement of Cameron all those experienced players become even more important to us.”
With North Queensland languishing near the bottom of the NRL ladder, prop Scott has been indifferent form.
But Walters believed the 32-year-old, who missed last year’s series with an ACL injury, would rise to the challenge.
“Coming back from a knee injury his form is pretty much what I expected,” Walters said.
“The last couple of weeks have been much improved and I think somewhere near we know he can play.”
Michael Morgan has not been at his best, but Maroons coach Kevin Walters has faith in the Cowboys playmaker. (AAP: Michael Chambers)
Cowboys playmaker Michael Morgan has not looked his best since his early season was disrupted by an abdominal injury, but Walters had no doubt he would make an impact on the Origin stage.
“I don’t think he’s injured,” Walters said.
“I think he’s just in the pot there with the Cowboys and they’re struggling a bit which isn’t great, I’ve got to say.
“But he’s been doing enough for me to get a bit excited about him doing what he’s capable of doing and he’s got a couple of weeks and we expect him to have a huge impact on this Origin series.”
Walter acknowledged Boyd’s Brisbane had been “hit and miss” but he was doing enough to ensure his place.
“He certainly is and we’re going to be relying on all those players with experience throughout the series,” he said.
“Hopefully in game one Darius can get a start and show his value and experience.”