An emotional Kevin Walters has declared Queensland will win game one of the State of Origin series and tagged the upcoming battle as "a war" he intends to win.
The Maroons coach said debutants Moses Mbye, Joe Ofahengaue and David Fifita had earned their jerseys and would do the state proud as his eyes glazed over with the passion and emotion that has defined his tenure in charge of the Maroons.
Broncos forwards Ofahengaue and Fifita will come off the bench, as will Mbye with the Wests Tigers skipper beating Anthony Milford to the vital utility spot.
“I'm ready, we are ready. This is war,” Walters said.
“This Queensland team is going to be so well prepared for this match. We are playing at home and we are going to put on a performance everyone will be proud of, including the players, fans and sponsors. We will win game one. It's on.”
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 1 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Walters said bringing new blood into the side for game one of the Holden State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium was “very exciting”.
“All these boys have earned their selection in the side,” Walters said.
“David Fifita, we know how he has been the standout for the Broncos. The intensity and aggression he plays with is something that has stood out. Moses Mbye is another guy who is captain of the Tigers and plays a number of positions for us. That is vital at Origin level. He plays several positions with a lot of class and spirit.
"He has been a hooker in the  grand final for the Bulldogs. He has played centre, five-eighth and fullback. He is a player of great utility value, which is very important for the Maroons in series 2019.
“[Ofahengaue] was knocking on the door and we just couldn't leave him out of the side. He has been outstanding for the Broncos and he will be an integral part of our side.”
The Maroons named Daly Cherry-Evans as the captain of the side at a dinner on Monday night. He hasn’t played since the round-seven win over Canberra and had ankle surgery five weeks ago.
“Our conversations with the medical staff at Manly and DCE, he has worked around the clock,” Walters said.
“His commitment and attitude towards getting himself right for Origin I really is inspiring for the whole team to see what he has gone through to get himself right for this game. That shows what it means for him to be part of this great Queensland team and he will be a part of it in a big way.”
Mbye (groin) and Jai Arrow (quadriceps strain) also missed the weekend’s games for their respective clubs but Walters declared “it won’t affect us one bit”, while declaring his faith in his new spine.
“Our major training sessions are Thursday, Friday and Saturday and I expect all those players to be part of it. I can't see any reason why they won't be fit for the game,” Walters said.
“To some degree, it is a bonus they haven't played last week, they are all fresh and ready to go.
Maroons have GI in their minds
“It's a game we expect to win. We've picked a great side, I'm really excited about the team we have picked.
“We have some really good young players, we have Kalyn Ponga, wow, what about him in the last month since they moved him back to fullback.
“Cameron Munster, DCE, Ben Hunt, they are great players and they will show everyone how good they are at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday week.”
Queensland team for Origin I
- Kalyn Ponga
- Corey Oates
- Michael Morgan
- Will Chambers
- Dane Gagai
- Cameron Munster
- Daly Cherry-Evans
- Jai Arrow
- Ben Hunt
- Josh Papalii
- Felise Kaufusi
- Matt Gillett
- Josh McGuire
- Moses Mbye
- Joe Ofahengaue
- Dylan Napa
- David Fifita
- Tim Glasby
- Anthony Milford
- Kurt Capewell