Panic stations for Maroons as Walters wields axe

Queensland is running scared after their game two capitulation, with coach Kevin Walters naming a team for the decider that reeks of panic.

Walters on Monday named his 17-man squad for game three in Sydney, dumping forwards Jarrod Wallace and Dylan Napa after their poor showing in Perth.

Joe Ofahengaue will return from injury and Christian Welch will make his debut.

Dragons star Corey Norman has also been called up to the squad after Kalyn Ponga was ruled out due to injury.

Putting on a brave face... Queensland coach Kevin Walters has a tough task to claim this series. Picture: AAP
Putting on a brave face... Queensland coach Kevin Walters has a tough task to claim this series. Picture: AAP

It is unknown where Norman will slot into the team given his ability to play both five-eighth or fullback but the public consensus is Walters will shift Cameron Munster from the halves to the No.1 jersey in the absence of Ponga.

Welch's inclusion is an interesting move by Walters as the Maroons boss moves to patch an Origin team together through the use of a person who at best is a bench player for the Melbourne Storm.

Queensland's Origin hopes in 2019 are a far cry from where the team was placed after their shock win in game one and a long way from the tough talk Walters delivered before the series opener when he declared "we are ready, this is war".

Queensland players are seen consoling each other after their Origin II loss in Perth. Picture: AAP
Queensland players are seen consoling each other after their Origin II loss in Perth. Picture: AAP

Walters said following the team announcement he believed his patchwork team could claim the series.

"I feel it's important to get the team back together," Walters said.

"It was hard on both (dumped) players but we've got to make the tough choices sometimes... and we've picked a team we expect to win game three."

Joining Welch, Ofahengaue, Norman and Munster in the squad are Will Chambers, Daly Cherry-Evans, David Fifita, Dane Gagai, Matt Gillett, Tim Glasby, Ben Hunt, Felise Kaufusi, Moses Mbye, Josh McGuire, Michael Morgan, Corey Oates and Josh Papalii.

Brad Fittler is set to announce his NSW squad for Origin III at 6pm on Monday.

News Corp Australia

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