Queensland coach Kevin Walters knows he needs to change things
KEVIN Walters was always going to have a difficult task following on from Mal Meninga's reign as Queensland State of Origin coach.
Meninga was the most successful Origin coach ever, propelling the Maroons to a decade of dominance over NSW.
Sure, Meninga was helped by a group filled with some of the best players this generation has seen, and those players still serve Walters.
But there lies the problem for the current Maroons boss. How much do those stars have left?
"Pick and stick" has always been the Queensland way and loyalty is often rewarded. But now Walters has given the biggest indication yet changes are in store for game two in Sydney.
"I'm prepared to change enough so that Queensland can give a better performance than what we gave in game one," Walters told Triple M Brisbane's Marto, Ed and Robin.
"The effort there was fantastic but I'm not stupid, I take the position I'm in extremely seriously and we need to make some changes, there's no doubt about that, even guys that aren't injured or aren't playing this weekend"
"Hopefully we can get it right for game two. We didn't get it right for game one, but we gave those people an opportunity that were successful last year throughout the series first crack at things. That didn't work out for whatever reason so we've got to look seriously about what we can do to improve the side for game two"
Several young Maroons are staking their claim with their performances in the NRL each week, as Australian representative Valentine Holmes and Cowboys forward Coen Hess create the most buzz.
But the omission of Billy Slater has been the most heavily criticised move, given the demolition job by the Blues last Wednesday.
Walters opted for Australian fullback Darius Boyd over Slater in game one, but the Melbourne Storm ace continues to mount pressure with standout performances.
The Queensland coach admits Slater is knocking on the door, but he's not yet a certainty to win an Origin recall.
"I don't know yet," Walters said. "Obviously Billy's got the game tomorrow night but he's in good form and it was hard leaving him out of game one so he's continued on his pathway.
"It's going to be again another tough decision that we've got to make but one that we're prepared to make. Well, certainly I am anyway for the better of Queensland."