Revealed: Queensland’s team for Origin III

KEVIN Walters has confirmed his team for Origin III and the Queensland coach will make the biggest gamble of his Maroons career on an untested debutant.

The Courier-Mail can exclusively reveal Walters has finalised his team for Game Three with Norman to play five-eighth and incumbent pivot Cameron Munster to shift to fullback for the death-or-glory clash against NSW at Sydney's ANZ Stadium next Wednesday night.

Walters met with Munster and Norman Wednesday morning to inform them of their roles in Queensland's spine as the Maroons look to plot a Blues boilover and reclaim the Origin shield at their Homebush bogey ground.

Queensland utility back Michael Morgan was originally tipped to replace injured superstar Kalyn Ponga, but Walters has opted for Munster, who was groomed as a fullback successor to Billy Slater in his teens at Melbourne.

Munster will switch to fullback. AAP Image/Darren England.
Munster will switch to fullback. AAP Image/Darren England.

While Munster has since become a dominant force at five-eighth for Melbourne and Queensland, he has always yearned to operate in a backfield role.

The blooding of Norman in the Maroons No.6 jumper made famous by the likes of Wally Lewis, Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston represents a huge show of faith in his ability by Walters.

Just three years ago, Norman was on the outer at Queensland after some off-field dramas but Walters is now backing the Dragons ace to form a slick scrumbase partnership with skipper Daly Cherry-Evans.

"Cameron has always enjoyed playing fullback and I can sense how eager he is to make a strong contribution," Walters said.

"The same can be said for Corey. He's been in our system for a number of years now and he's stoked to get the chance on such a big stage.

"Now it's about getting down to business and making sure our preparation is spot on."

Munster recently told The Courier-Mail the fullback spot was his preferred position.

"I'll be honest, I spoke to 'Bellyache' (Storm coach Craig Bellamy) in pre-season and I told him I wanted to play fullback this year but he had different ideas," he said.

"I've always said I'm not a selfish player, so I'll always play wherever it best suits the team, which includes Queensland.

"If the best thing for the team is me playing six or fullback, then I'm happy to look at the big picture."

In other key selection news, Broncos bookend Joe Ofahengaue will partner Josh Papalii in the engine room for Origin III following the axing of Dylan Napa.

Welch is the other debutant. AAP Image/Darren England.
Welch is the other debutant. AAP Image/Darren England.

It will be Ofahengaue's starting debut in just his second game for Queensland after his baptism off the bench in the series opener at Suncorp Stadium.

Morgan will remain at left centre, while Storm prop Christian Welch will debut off the bench with Souths back-rower Ethan Lowe installed as 18th man.

"We've had a really positive start to our camp since we've got back together here in Brisbane," Walters said.

"We're about to get into some of our bigger training sessions so it's an exciting time for everyone, particularly the players who have been given a new opportunity at this level."

QUEENSLAND TEAM: 1. Cameron Munster 2. Corey Oates, 3. Michael Morgan, 4. Will Chambers, 5. Dane Gagai, 6. Corey Norman, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8. Joe Ofahengaue, 9. Ben Hunt, 10. Josh Papalii, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. Josh McGuire. Bench: 14. Moses Mbye, 15. Christian Welch, 16. Tim Glasby, 17. David Fifita. 18th man: Ethan Lowe.