Maroons recall Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater for Game II

slaterMaroons coach Kevin Walters has rung the changes and swung the axe, with Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston recalled for State of Origin Game II in Sydney.

Gavin Cooper also comes into the side alongside debutants Valentine Holmes and Coen Hess, with Nate Myles, Justin O’Neill and Broncos pair Sam Thaiday and Corey Oates all dropped from the side.

Meanwhile, Melbourne Storm prop Tim Glasby has been named as Queensland’s bolter, with the 79-game forward being called on for his rock-solid defensive skills.

In total, seven changes have been made between Game I and II as the Maroons look to level the series.

Walters also said it was hard to drop Oates in favour of debutant winger Holmes, but said the Maroons could no longer afford to leave him on the sidelines.

“It was very difficult, he’s had four really good games for Queensland, but we felt the time was right for Valentine Holmes,” Walters said.

“Corey’s a winger that’s been manufactured over time. We just think Valentine’s a genuine speedster and an exciting young player.”The Blues lead the series 1-0 after their 28-4 thumping of the hosts at Lang Park, with Game II kicking off on June 21.

Queensland squad for Game II

  • Cameron Smith (c), Darius Boyd, Will Chambers, Gavin Cooper, Cooper Cronk, Dane Gagai, Matt Gillett, Tim Glasby, Coen Hess, Valentine Holmes, Josh McGuire, Michael Morgan, Dylan Napa, Josh Papalii, Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston, Jarrod Wallace

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