Ahead of Corey Parker’s State of Origin swansong, Queensland coach Kevin Walters has thrown down the challenge for candidates to step up and show they can fill the “void” left by the veteran lock.
The Brisbane veteran will play his 19th and final Origin for the Maroons on Wednesday week, drawing the curtain on a glittering representative career.
Parker played two games from 2004-05 for Queensland but had to wait another six years to break back into the side.
He hasn’t looked back, becoming one of the first picked for the all-conquering Maroons.
Walters said he had not started the daunting task of contemplating Parker’s replacement but hoped NRL candidates would make the tough assignment easier for him.
“There’s lots of young guys who could try and fill that void, because it will be a void when Corey does leave,” Walters told QRL TV.
“He’s got so much experience, is so professional and a leader.
“Next year one of the younger generation has to come through and put their hand up.”
Walters hoped they could send out Parker a winner by sealing only Queensland’s fifth Origin series whitewash.
“He’s been a great player for Origin over the years,” Walters said.
“It was fitting that we won game two up at Suncorp Stadium for him.
“Now we want to make his final game pretty special too as he rides off to the sunset.”
Parker said he no choice but to savour his last Origin hurrah.
“They say you never know when it is going to be your last but in this case I do know – I just have to enjoy it,” Parker told AAP.
“I sat on the sidelines for six years watching this team start their run.
“I never gave up hope of getting back into the team.
“When I got back I vowed to never let it go again.
“So yeah, I will miss this.”