McCullough’s not the man for Maroons
WHEN Cameron Smith retired from Origin Andrew McCullough could quite rightly have felt that his time had come, but much as I feel for the guy, I wouldn't have him in my side.
Smith was more than a hooker. He was a playmaker, a defender and a goal-kicker, to say nothing of experienced leader.
McCullough fills the tackler role, but that leaves a lot of other holes, especially with Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk also hanging up the rep boots.
I would go with Ben Hunt at hooker. He played there well for the Broncos when McCullough was injured last season, and has worn the No. 9 for Australia.
Having him there allows the in-form Daly Cherry-Evans to come in as halfback and goal-kicker. He is also a field-goal specialist - and captains his club side.
With Hunt and DCE providing two playmakers for the price of one, and both having Origin experience, you come closer to filling the giant boots of Smith.
And if it doesn't work, McCullough could still get his chance in Games ll and lll.
MIKE COLMAN'S QUEENSLAND TEAM
1 Billy Slater
2 Corey Oates
3 Greg Inglis
4 Will Chambers
5 Dane Gagai
6 Cameron Munster
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Matt Scott
9 Ben Hunt
10 Jarrod Wallace
11 Gavin Cooper
12 Felise Kaufusi
13 Josh McGuire
14 Michael Morgan
15 Josh Papalii
16 Dylan Napa
17 Coen Hess
TOUGHEST CALL: Hooker-half conundrum. Feel for McCullough but need more than a tackling machine to replace Smith. Hunt has played hooker for Australia and playing him there allows DCE to come into the side, doubling creativity and providing a goal-kicker and golden point specialist.
CRUELLEST CUT: Darius Boyd, but as George Harrison said, all things must pass. Have gone for Corey Oates because: 1. You need one big winger 2. He can play in the forwards at a pinch. 3. Still can't work out why he was dropped last year.
ON THE VERGE: Joe Ofahengaue and Jai Arrow. Could be there before series is out but Queensland is about loyalty and Hess did the job last year.