It is being described as the odd couple.

The contentious New South Wales halves combination for State of origin has finally been revealed as young gun Nathan Cleary and the Rabbitohs maverick Cody Walker.

The Panthers' struggles had put the pressure on last year's winning combo of Cleary and James Maloney.

Despite Walker's impressive club partner Adam Reynolds being cleared of a bad injury, Cleary has retained his spot in brad Fittler's squad.


Fittler said: "They're going to have to (work together). Naturally one plays a lot on the right and defends on the right and Cody defends on the left. I think that helps.

"Other than that they're both really good footballers. You can tell they're really passionate about football and they love the game. That's the best start possible.

"We've got a couple of days to work out how we're going to play. I don't really know Cody Walker and I've only seen him at the games to say hello to. I'm looking forward to getting to know him."

The Sydney Morning Herald described the partnership as the "odd couple".

"The partnership with Cleary in the halves is intriguing. You could have written your own ticket at the start of the season on the odds those two would be the Blues No.7 and No.6," the SMH reckoned.

Nathan Cleary of the Panthers. Photo / Getty
Nathan Cleary of the Panthers. Photo / Getty

The Roosters outstanding Luke Keary was ruled out with concussion, leaving the so-called odd couple to run the show.

Cleary, who grew up in Auckland where dad Ivan played for and coached the Warriors, has been earmarked for the top from a young age.

But the instinctive Walker, a sensation in the NRL this year, will make his Origin debut at the age of 29, having spent years trying to find his feet in the NRL.


He had time with the Gold Coast, Penrith and Melbourne before finally cracking first grade with South Sydney in 2016.

His journey included playing for the Queensland Residents against New South Wales.

Sharks centre Josh Morris has been recalled, after retiring from representative football after the 2016 series.

Morris had called it quits due to the mental and physical drain of representative football. Years of failure against Queensland had also taken a toll.

"'I said to him (Fittler) if you need me to do a job I will gladly do it for you," he said about his decision to answer an SOS call form Fittler.

Dragons forward Tyson Frizell needs a check on his head knock.

Meanwhile, the Queensland team, named today, contains one surprise with Tigers captain Moses Mbye claiming the utility bench role ahead of Anthony Milford (Broncos) and Jake Granville (Cowboys). Mbye has been dealing with a groin injury.

Daly Cherry-Evans is expected to be confirmed as the captain tonight.

NSW: James Tedesco (Roosters), Josh Addo-Carr (Storm), Latrell Mitchell (Roosters), Josh Morris (Sharks), Nick Cotric (Raiders), Cody Walker (Rabbitohs), Nathan Cleary (Penrith); Dave Klemmer (Knights), Damien Cook (Rabbitohs), Paul Vaughan (Dragons), Boyd Cordner (Roosters - c), Tyson Frizell , (Dragons), Jake Trbojevic (Sea Eagles).
Interchange: Jack Wighton (Raiders), Payne Haas (Broncos), Cameron Murray (Rabbitohs), Angus Crichton (Roosters).

Queensland: Kalyn Ponga (Knights), Corey Oates (Broncos), Michael Morgan (Cowboys), Will Chambers (Storm), Dane Gagai (Rabbitohs), Cameron Munster (Storm). Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles); Jai Arrow (Titans), Ben Hunt (Dragons), Josh Papalii (Raiders), Felise Kaufusi (Storm), Matt Gillett (Broncos), Josh McGuire (Cowboys).

Interchange: Moses Mbye (Tigers), Joe Ofahengaue (Broncos), Dylan Napa (Bulldogs), David Fifita (Broncos).