State of Origin: Queensland coach Kevin Walters and his muddling Maroons

Queensland State of Origin coach Kevin Walters. Photo / Getty Images
Queensland State of Origin coach Kevin Walters. Photo / Getty Images

Nate Myles hasn't broken the defensive line in four years.

Aidan Guerra has made more errors in half of season 2016 than the previous two years.
And Sam Thaiday runs as well as a Parramatta Eels board election.

Now Kevin Walters faces the indignity of being the man to single-handedly destroy Queensland's dynasty after picking a highly questionable squad in his first attempt as Maroons coach.

Queensland great Allan Langer calls Walters "Steven Bradbury" because his rivals for the Maroons job all fell over. Walters will take his spot in the coaches box at ANZ Stadium knowing he was the QRL's fallback option.

Paul Green was offered the job but knocked it back so he could concentrate on winning back-to-back titles with the Cowboys.

Poor Kev couldn't even command enough respect among the younger players to keep the likes of Anthony Milford and Valentine Holmes in check during an emerging Origin camp earlier this year.

Having won four of the past six games at ANZ Stadium, it's no wonder NSW are $1.85 favourites heading into Wednesday night.

Queensland have had a charmed run with injuries and stars like Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and NSW's own Greg Inglis to get them out of trouble.

But their lack of depth looks like being exposed by a NSW squad so full of talent coach Laurie Daley couldn't find room for enforcer Beau Scott, exciting Penrith backrower Bryce Cartwright and utility gun Jack Bird.

Queensland, on the other hand, have selected "strike" forward Myles, who has busted a total of four tackles in the past two NRL seasons. He hasn't scored a try or made a linebreak since 2012.

Even he admits his form has been poor for new club Manly.

Guerra has already made more errors halfway through this season than he has in either of the past two years. Give him the ball and watch him stuff up, we say.

He's committed 13 errors for the Sydney Roosters so far this season. He made 12 for the entire 2015 season and just 11 in 2014.

Guerra is also averaging 2.3 missed tackle a game, more than the previous two years.

Thaiday can't even crack a starting spot for the Broncos but Walters has deemed his 75 run metres per game and the four busted tackles this year worthy of the Maroons' run-on squad.

Queensland fans are still having nightmares about 2014 when Cronk got injured and NSW won the series.

His potential replacement Michael Morgan is a fine player for North Queensland but he has made 22 errors this season - the second most of anyone in the NRL outside of St George Illawarra's Gareth Widdop (25).

Not encouraging signs for the Maroons, who will need Morgan to play more of a steady hand if halfback Cooper Cronk is ruled out with an ankle injury.

With Justin Hodges' retirement, Queensland's outside back stocks look decidedly thin.
This is a definite tale of two Justins - the wily veteran Hodges who retired after last year's series and the ho-hum O'Neill, who is the best of a mediocre bunch of available Queensland outside backs.

Corey Oates, the 21-year-old Bronco, "earned" his wing spot by default after North Queensland's Kyle Feldt threw away his Origin chance in a shocking performance the weekend before the team was announced.

NSW legend Benny Elias said the Maroons were ready to be put in their place.

"Let's run our big forwards at their old fellas," he said. "I am absolutely convinced NSW's turn is coming. It's our time. I am speaking on behalf of NSW. I want NSW to get pumped up. It's achanging of the guard and the pressure is on Queensland.

"Do I hate Queensland? I wish to God that everyone hated Queensland like Queensland hated NSW at this time of the year. They have some great sports people like Greg Norman, Adam Scott and Pat Rafter but they worry more about beating us in Origin than the achievements of those other people.

"The capital of the world when it comes to rugby league is NSW."

Queensland has an ageing side. But don't tell NSW coach Laurie Daley they're too old.

"People have been saying that for a number of years now and look what they continue to do," Daley said. "You never write-off champions.

They are a champion team. They're never too old. Half of them will play until they're 40."
The build-up to this series has lacked some of the venom of the past, but Daley is happy to keep things calm and controlled.

"That has always been Queensland's approach, that has always been our approach," Daley said.

"Sometimes things are said in the media that are blown out of proportion. Again, we're not in a position to say anything. You don't really need to come out and say anything. Every individual is different but it's not the way I operate."

- news.com.au

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