The team may not have been officially named yet but North Queensland coach Paul Green has already consoled winger Kyle Feldt over his Maroons State of Origin snub.
Green said he had spoken to Feldt after reports emerged that the Cowboys winger would be overlooked when Queensland named their squad on Tuesday night for the June 1 series opener in Sydney.
Those reports appear to have been confirmed when Maroons team members began arriving in Brisbane for Tuesday night’s announcement and Feldt was nowhere to be seen.
However, Cowboys centre Justin O’Neill looks set to make his Origin debut for Queensland in the series opener after filing into Brisbane airport on Tuesday.
Green said he also took Lachlan Coote aside after the Cowboys fullback failed to make the NSW Origin I squad on Monday, losing out to Penrith’s Matt Moylan.
The message to both Coote and Feldt was simple – keep your head up.
“I had a bit of a chat to them but you’ve got to move on,” Green said.
“As disappointing as it might be it is only game one.
“It’s important that they remember through any series there is going to be changes to the team.
“The worst thing they can do is drop their bundle because of their disappointment for not making this game.
“For them it is really important they keep playing well and keep putting their name forward.”
Feldt appeared to have dashed his Origin selection hopes with an error-riddled display in North Queensland’s 19-18 NRL win over Brisbane last round.
Queensland selectors are expected to overlook Feldt and keep Dane Gagai on the wing for the series opener.
The Maroons do look set to unveil a debutant from the Cowboys – O’Neill.
He is expected to partner Greg Inglis in the centres with Brisbane’s Corey Oates on the other wing in what would also mark his Origin debut.
It would finally end O’Neill’s long wait for a maiden Queensland jersey.
He was on standby for a recovering Darius Boyd ahead of the 2013 series opener.
“Just looking at some of the players today like Johnathan Thurston. I had grown up watching him play – what they have created as a team is pretty special,” O’Neill told reporters at Brisbane airport on Tuesday.
O’Neill relocated from Melbourne to the Cowboys in 2015.
Asked about a potential Origin call-up for O’Neill, Green said: “It’s a great reward for a lot of hard work he has done since he has come here.”
Queensland require a new look backline due to the unavailability of fullback Billy Slater (shoulder) and centres Will Chambers (foot) and Justin Hodges (retirement).
Brisbane’s Boyd has already been confirmed as Queensland fullback by rookie coach Kevin Walters.
The Maroons team will be named at 2015 AEDT on Tuesday night.