Warriors consultant and NRL coaching icon Phil Gould has slammed Queensland selectors for their "disgraceful" decision to select Reece Walsh for State of Origin.
The 18-year-old Warriors prodigy will make his debut for the Maroons at fullback in game two of State of Origin on Sunday night, after playing just seven NRL games for the Warriors.
Queensland coach Paul Green said he was confident Walsh was ready for Origin football after impressing in his debut season.
However, Gould labelled the decision "disgracefully weak", saying calling on the teen star to fix Queensland's problems especially after getting battered 50-6 in the first game is irresponsible.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"[It's] typical of every young Queenslander to go up. That's what they want to do; they want to play for Queensland. Reece Walsh even [would've] had the thought of having his bag packed and ready to walk to Queensland if necessary to play for the mighty Maroons.
"We wish him well. No one at the Warriors club was denying him the opportunity if it came for him. Everyone was just worried about his wellbeing and whether or not it was the right thing to be bringing him into a team, particularly this Queensland team at the moment."
Gould said Walsh was being "thrown into the wolves", without a chance to learn and understand the environment.
"Maybe back in the day when they had Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston and a tough forward pack and they were actually on a roll, it would've been a good time to bring him into camp and let him see Origin football from the inside out and maybe after a year or so give him a blooding into the Origin side.
"But bringing him into a team that was beaten 50-6 in game one, I think it's a disgraceful decision by the Queensland selectors. To be asking an 18-year-old to come in and solve this problem is not fair on the kid. I hope he brains them. He's got great talent and he's an Origin player of the future. I hope he scores five tries and saves five tries. That doesn't justify the decision to throw this kid into the wolves on Sunday.
"You don't throw kids into this environment because your team is getting beaten 50-6. That's not the time to bring him in at 18 years of age. I'm sorry that is not how you develop talent … I'm cheering for him. I hope he's outstanding. But that won't change the fact that this is a disgracefully weak decision by the Queensland selectors."