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Capewell called up as Slater decides rest is best for Selwyn

Maroons coach Billy Slater said the decision to leave Game One 'super sub' Selwyn Cobbo out of the side for Game Two came down to the fact the Broncos flyer is 'not quite 100 per cent at the moment'.

Cobbo played 73 minutes in the backline after coming off the bench in Sydney but will miss the clash in Melbourne with Kurt Capewell returning to the side instead as a bench utility.  

"Selwyn has been playing with injections and I thought it was best thing for him personally and best for the team for him to have a rest," Slater said on Monday.

"The Broncos have a bye this weekend and I’m pretty sure if the Broncos were playing this weekend he wouldn’t be playing for them.

"He has just turned 22 and sometimes we forget these guys are still young men developing physically, they are still developing their game and building that consistency in their game.

"I felt this was the right thing for Selwyn to have a break and he’ll be playing in a Maroons jersey before we know it again."

Capewell will make his first Origin appearance since Game 3, 2022, and brings a wealth of experience to the Maroons bench.

"Kurt has great versatility in his game, he has never let Queensland down," Slater said.

"He was playing extremely well before he hurt his calf a month ago and I love the actions and the habits he has in his game. He's had two games back [from injury] and he's nice and healthy and looking forward to Kurt getting back out there in a Maroons jersey."

QLD Maroons named for State of Origin II, 2024

In a huge positive for the Maroons. superstar fullback Reece Walsh will return for Game Two, with Slater having no concerns about the 21-year-old having no game time since he was knocked out in the series opener.

"Reece has got clearance, he’s good. There was no thought to staying with Hamiso at fullback," Slater said.

"Reece is Queensland fullback right now, Hammer is Queensland centre right now.

"I saw a fair bit of form in Reece’s preparation [for Game One] and I'm looking forward to helping him go after that preparation again.

"There is plenty to come in Hammer's game and I’m excited about helping him get there. His teammates have a responsibility to bring him into the game and we’ve got 10 days to work out how we do that."

Eels forward J'maine Hopgood is out with a back injury that kept him out of Parramatta's clash against the Roosters on Saturday, with veteran forward Felise Kaufusi set for his 16th Origin appearance after being named on the bench.

Blues v Maroons – Game 1, 2024

"Felise is a wonderful player. I played in a premiership winning team with Felise, I played for Queensland alongside him, he makes his footy team better," Slater said.

"He did a great job in Game One to come on the field and perform the way he did as 18th man.

"He has been a big part of this Queensland team over a number of years and now he gets his opportunity to prepare knowing he is going to be playing and he has really earned that,"

Another Maroons stalwart Dane Gagai – who played 22 Origins between 2015 and 2022 – has earned a return to the representative arena as 18th man, while Heilum Luki and Trent Loiero have been named in the extended squad as reserves.

Maroons team for Game Two

  1. Reece Walsh (Broncos)
  2. Xavier Coates (Storm)
  3. Valentine Holmes (Cowboys)
  4. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (Dolphins)
  5. Murray Taulagi (Cowboys)
  6. Tom Dearden (Cowboys)
  7. Daly Cherry-Evans, capt. (Sea Eagles)
  8. Reuben Cotter (Cowboys)
  9. Ben Hunt (Dragons)
  10. Lindsay Collins (Roosters)
  11. Jaydn Su'A (Dragons)
  12. Jeremiah Nanai (Cowboys)
  13. Patrick Carrigan (Broncos)
  14. Harry Grant (Storm)
  15. Moeaki Fotuaika (Titans)
  16. Felise Kaufusi (Dolphins)
  17. Kurt Capewell (Warriors)
  18. Dane Gagai (Knights)
  19. Heilum Luki (Cowboys)
  20. Trent Loiero (Storm)

Coach: Billy Slater

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.