Maroons legend Johnathan Thurston is back.
Maroons legend Johnathan Thurston is back. DEAN LEWINS

Origin: Gorden Tallis backs Queensland changes

FORMER Queensland Origin captain Gorden Tallis has endorsed the mass changes made by the Maroons' selectors ahead of Origin game two.

The Maroons were blown off the park in the Origin opener, the 28-4 defeat, the largest by a Queensland side in Brisbane.

With the side facing an Origin series loss if they do not win game two in Sydney, coach Kevin Walters has made seven changes.

The clean-out is unlike Queensland, who are known for their loyalty and 'pick and stick' mentality - but Tallis says the changes are needed and have been a long time coming.

"It's been coming," Tallis said on The Matty Johns Show. "Everybody said it was at the eleventh hour - it was past midnight. The changes probably needed to be made.


Gorden Tallis.
Gorden Tallis.

"We were outplayed in game three last year, so (game one) isn't our first loss."

Origin stalwarts Nate Myles, Aidan Guerra, Jacob Lillyman and Sam Thaiday all make way in the forwards. All have been a pivotal part of Queensland winning 10 of the last 11 Origin series.

But Tallis says time is up for all, and while they should be thanked for their service, a new era must begin if the Maroons are to have any hope against a fierce Blues forward pack.

"You have to give those guys the respect they deserve, we won last years series, it's a little bit of a changing of the guard," Tallis said.

"It's not, 'You're not good enough,' you've done your job for Queensland.

"You have a young kid like Coen Hess banging the door down, and Sammy (Thaiday) is trying to still hold it up."

Origin II will see the reshaping of perhaps the best "spine" in rugby league history, as Billy Slater is expected to reclaim his fullback jersey, Johnathan Thurston will rejoin Cooper Cronk in the halves and Cameron Smith will lead the side at hooker.


Cooper Cronk is tackled by Mitchell Pearce during game one
Cooper Cronk is tackled by Mitchell Pearce during game one Mark Kolbe

Tallis says it is the brilliance of the famed quartet that has papered over the cracks of Queensland in recent years.

The Blues forwards have won the battle, but thanks to its star backline, Queensland have managed to win the war - at least up until this year.

"We never got beaten in the backs, we got beaten up in the forwards," Tallis said.

"We got beat up in last years series and we were lucky that our backs were that good to get us home.

"You can't really say that about a rugby league side, that you got beaten in the forwards and still win a game. The Queensland forwards have been slowly getting beaten up by New South Wales."

Former New South Wales representative Matty Johns said the side named for the June 21 clash in Sydney has him fearful, something he says wasn't the case ahead of the series opener.

"I looked at this side, and the side for game one, I was like, 'What were you thinking?'" Johns said. "With (Billy) Slater back in the side, it justs takes form."

News Corp Australia

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