A State of Origin ban has officially been lifted on seven of the eight Queensland rising stars who broke curfew at January’s Emerging Maroons camp.
Queensland coach Kevin Walters included Valentine Holmes, Cameron Munster, Ben Hunt, Anthony Milford, Edrick Lee, Dylan Napa and Jarrod Wallace in a 20-strong squad for next month’s Emerging Maroons camp despite this year’s controversy.
The seven players plus Penrith’s Chris Grevsmuhl all copped 12 month Origin bans for breaking curfew at the camp, Walters’ first official event as new Queensland coach.
Walters said he did not consider Grevsmuhl for the late January camp after the backrower left the NRL last month to deal with “personal issues”.
Walters was convinced January’s controversy would be a “one off” and ruled out curfews or booze bans for the next camp.
“I think they are men enough now to know what is required of them at these camps,” he said.
“Last year was a one off. As disappointing as it was I think everyone learned a lot out of it.
“It’s about being responsibility.”
Walters said the seven players were welcomed back to the camp after responding positively on the field to their ban.
“I think they showed with their football on the field (they were ready to come back),” he said.
“We are going to need these guys to stand up in the next couple of years.
“For that to happen they have to mature as individuals and I am sure they have.”
Walters was not put off picking Holmes after the Cronulla star trialed for NFL recruiters with North Queensland’s Jason Taumalolo in Los Angeles recently.
“No, I think it was just a good experience for those guys,” he said.
Walters said the door was not closed on Grevsmuhl’s return.
“He’s got some issues he has to sort out himself,” he said.
“He is a player we hope can get himself right and then come back and play some good footy – that’s up to Chris.”
There were four new faces in the squad – Cowboys backrower Coen Hess, Melbourne’s Felise Kaufusi, Gold Coast half Ashley Taylor and Storm’s Christian Welch.
Walters said North Queensland teenager Kalyn Ponga was not considered.
Walters admitted he was uncertain whether Ponga had pledged his allegiance to Australia or New Zealand.
“Regardless we think there are a couple of players in front of him – he has only played two NRL games,” Walters said.