Complacency won’t be an issue for Queensland after a gut wrenching NRL loss to Paul Gallen’s Cronulla fired up the Maroons’ Cowboys stars ahead of next week’s State of Origin game two.
And the North Queensland contingent may yet grow after Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt was added to the squad as cover for Newcastle’s Dane Gagai and backrower Ethan Lowe was named 18th man.
North Queensland prop Matt Scott must step up in Origin II in the injured Nate Myles’ absence.
Brisbane’s Josh McGuire will replace Myles (knee) and partner Scott in the starting front row.
Scott already had plenty of motivation thanks to the Sharks’ 13-10 last round win over defending premiers North Queensland.
Scott said the tough loss had ensured he and Cowboys teammates Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan and Justin O’Neill were hungry for revenge in NSW skipper Gallen’s Origin Suncorp Stadium swansong.
It would allay Queensland coach Kevin Walters’ fear that complacency may be Queensland’s downfall as they looked to seal a 10th series win in 11 years on Wednesday week at their homeground.
“For us coming up short, the Cowboys contingent will be very hungry to get them back and get some success – it was good timing for us in a sense,” Scott said of the Cowboys loss.
“It was the perfect stepping stone into Origin – a nice physical, tough game.”
Scott gets the chance to sour 22-game veteran Gallen’s Suncorp Stadium Origin farewell when they line up again days after the Shark Park defeat.
“He’s been their leader for many years. There will be a lot of NSW fans sad to see him go,” Scott said of Gallen.
“But he doesn’t get under my skin personally.
“He’s one of those players who I enjoy coming up against.
“We’ve had some good battles over the years.”
Scott did not feel any extra pressure leading a depleted pack.
McGuire will earn his first Origin starting debut after Walters opted for the Broncos juggernaut over Warriors’ Jacob Lillyman and Canberra wrecking ball Josh Papalii.
“Nate is a massive loss but Jacob has done the job before and Papalii and McGuire are starting to find their feet in Origin,” Scott said.
“As a pack we will all have to lift that little bit extra.”
Lillyman will start on the bench with Papalii.
Lillyman returns to the 17 after being the only incumbent overlooked for game one which Queensland claimed 6-4 in Sydney.
Cowboys flyer Feldt will take part in Queensland’s first training session on Thursday.
A Maroons spokesman played down Gagai’s injury, saying he was “responding well to treatment” and was expected to resume running by the weekend.
Lowe will join the Queensland camp on Friday.