Cooper to make Qld debut in Origin III

Veteran Gavin Cooper will make his State of Origin debut for Queensland after being named for game three in place of injured Josh Papalii.

The 30-year-old North Queensland forward has been chosen for the dead rubber in Sydney as the Maroons chase a clean sweep on July 13.

Cooper is one of two injury-enforced changes for Queensland, with Nate Myles recalled in place of injured utility Michael Morgan (knee).

Myles, who missed game two with a knee injury, has been included in an extended squad.

Coach Kevin Walters says the 30-game veteran will be given every chance to prove his fitness before the ANZ Stadium clash.

“He’s been running the last few days at Manly,” Walters said.

“We feel he should be right to play on Wednesday week.

“Given his expertise and experience at that level I don’t think Nate’s foolish enough to run out there if he’s not fit.”

Walters said he had to trust Canberra’s assessment of Papalii as being unfit for selection due to knee and shoulder issues.

Cooper’s inclusion comes after several years spent either as a back-up or 18th man for the Maroons and Walters says the Cowboys star felt the opportunity to play Origin had passed him by.

“It goes to show about perseverance and sticking to your trade and doing a good job at your trade … he’s been a great player for the Cowboys over the distance,” Walters said.

“It also shows how important game three is for the Queensland team. We’re picking our best team. We could have looked to the future but Gavin is the best player at the moment for us to choose.”

QUEENSLAND STATE OF ORIGIN GAME THREE SQUAD: Cameron Smith (capt), Darius Boyd, Gavin Cooper, Cooper Cronk, Dane Gagai, Matt Gillett, Aidan Guerra, Greg Inglis, Jacob Lillyman, Josh McGuire, Nate Myles, Corey Oates, Justin O’Neill, Corey Parker, Matt Scott, Sam Thaiday, Johnathan Thurston.

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