New blood needed for Maroons’ campaign?

MAROONS' selectors will remain loyal to the nine players involved in Sunday's worrying 26-12 Test loss to New Zealand when they name their squad for Origin I in Sydney on May 27.

Despite calls following the Kiwis' first mid-season Test victory since 1997, and their first hat-trick of Test wins over the Kangaroos since 1953, for a major overhaul of the Australian side, it is unlikely Queensland selectors will overreact unless the players carry that form into the Origin arena.

Queensland have survived the "Dad's Army" jokes for years but the fact is its champion side is getting long in the tooth and new blood is, and will be, needed, maybe during this series.

Queensland supplied the bulk of the Australian pack.

But it was out-muscled with Matt Scott, skipper Cameron Smith and veteran forwards Nate Myles and Corey Parker driven back by the youth and fierceness of a Kiwi outfit now in control and holding the upper hand.

The big question is how long can selectors overlook the facts and begin to bring through the next wave of representative players?

The Kiwis have done it with the likes of Jesse Bromwich (26), Tohu Harris (23), Kevin Proctor (26) and young bull Martin Taupau, who has just turned 25.

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Australia's pack, which struggled to compete at times, had two players, Cameron Smith (32 next month) and Corey Parker, who turns 33 today, and four other forwards, Greg Bird (30) Matt Scott (29) Sam Thaiday (29) and Nate Myles (29), making up one of the oldest Kangaroo sides in history.

Five of those six forwards are Queensland players, who will be given a chance by coach Mal Meninga and Queensland's three selectors, Des Morris, Gene Miles and Alan Smith, to win the first Origin clash before the series moves to Melbourne.

But if they lose, then there's no guarantee some of them will hold their spots in the return game.

Players such as young Roosters power-hitter Dylan Napa, Brisbane's Josh McGuire, Newcastle centre Dane Gagai and his teammate Korbin Sims, or a young flier such as Cronulla winger Valentine Holmes, could all be handed a debut.

Meninga and the selectors have already had several discussions about the make-up of Queensland's squad and what will be required to win back the series which it lost for the first time in nine years to NSW last time around.

As they have done in the past, they will stick with the players who have done the job for them. But after losing a third straight series in 2005, they named seven debutants.

They lost the opening game 17-16 but levelled the series with a 30-6 victory in game two before clinching the series-decider 16-14 with a win that triggered their record eight-straight reign.


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