State of Origin: Maroons put Michael Morgan at full-back, but doubts remain over Ben Hunt, Dane Gagai
Queensland’s preparations for Origin I remain rocky barely 24 hours out for the series opener at the MCG, with fitness questions still swirling about two more players even after the Maroons announced Michael Morgan would start at full-back.
Coach Kevin Walters said he was opting for experience in choosing Morgan to come in for the injured Billy Slater, instead of a debutant in Kalyn Ponga.
“From the experience side of things — also Kalyn [Ponga] played on Saturday for the Knights, [so] that’s not a lot of preparation for him to play.
“Morgs [Michael Morgan] has been our Mr Fixit in recent years.
“He’s a really mature player and he can handle the pressure of playing at full-back for the Maroons right now.”
Queensland’s final training session at the MCG ahead of Wednesday night’s season opener began with rumours abounding over the fitness of number seven Ben Hunt.
Then during the session Dane Gagai sustained a compound dislocation of the finger — he left and came back to finish the training before going off to have X-rays.
“You don’t run on your fingers,” Walters said of Gagai.
“He’s gone off for X-rays, and even if they do find something, it would be pretty hard for us to keep him from playing.”
Asked about Hunt’s prospects, Walters was confident he would play at the MCG.
“Ben Hunt’s right to go,” he said.
“He’s trained well Friday, Sunday and now Tuesday. He’s got strapping on his leg, with the cork, but he’s OK.”