Queensland coach Kevin Walters says Wade Graham deserves to play in next week’s State of Origin and hopes he can avoid a ban for a high-tackle charge.
Graham was named by NSW coach Laurie Daley on Monday as the replacement for injured back-rower Boyd Cordner.
But less than a day after that announcement, the match review committee (MRC) charged Graham with a grade one high tackle on North Queensland’s Johnathan Thurston in Monday night’s clash with Cronulla.
It means unless Graham can beat the charge at a judiciary hearing on Wednesday, his Origin dream will be dashed.
That is an outcome Maroons coach Walters believes is harsh on the 25-year-old.
“I really feel for Wade Graham, if he is ruled out of Origin II,” Walters said.
“You play all your football trying to get to this level and then, if it’s taken away from him, well that’s disappointing for him.
“I’m sure the judiciary will look after it and do the right thing, whatever’s got to be happening, whether he gets suspended or plays.
“For me, I’d like to see him fulfil his childhood dream and throw on that Blues jumper.”
Another Blues forward, James Tamou, was considered a possibility of being charged for a shoulder charge on Sharks forward and NSW teammate Andrew Fifita.
But the MRC didn’t charge Tamou, leaving him free to play against the Maroons in Brisbane next Wednesday.
“The game as it is, it’s a physical game and sometimes you can get caught in awkward positions,” Walters said.
“That was the case with James and it’s good news for NSW that he’ll be ready for Origin II. He’s a big part of their forward pack so that’s positive news for NSW.”