James Tedesco has given a glowing endorsement of Queensland rookie Reece Walsh, with the game’s best fullback declaring the teenager will give the Maroons the spark they missed in Origin I.
The selection of the 18-year-old whiz kid with just seven NRL games under his belt, has caused a stir ahead of State of Origin II on Sunday, but there was little surprise among the Blues camp.
It’s a Hail Mary choice in a must-win game for Queensland coach Paul Green after injuries to AJ Brimson and Kalyn Ponga put Walsh in the frame for the No.1 jersey.
But Walsh’s inexperience isn’t even a factor to consider according to Blues skipper Tedesco, who says the rising young star is a virtual unknown to the Blues which makes him dangerous.
“He is dangerous. He has a bit of spark which is what they needed. I’m sure that he’ll provide that,” Tedesco told AAP.
“He’s been playing some good footy so I’m not really surprised he was picked.
“They’ve obviously had some injuries, so why not pick him?
“There’s a lot of talk about their team and Reece, but that doesn’t change much for us.”
The Blues will put Walsh to the test under the high ball after watching him struggle in windy conditions against Newcastle last weekend before his shock selection.
But it’s the rise in toughness and intensity that Tedesco says Walsh needs to be wary of.
“It’s still the same game, but it’s the best players in the game going at each other. It’s so tough,” he said.
“Even the last game, we won by 50 and it’s still one of the toughest games you’ll play.”
For the most part the Blues are staying tight-lipped about their Queensland rivals ahead of Sunday’s game at Suncorp Stadium, where they’ll attempt to wrap up the series with a victory.
The Blues will need to overcome a historically bad run of form at the ground, having won just two of their last 14 games at the venue.
NSW will train for the final time in Kingscliff on Thursday morning before heading into enemy territory on Friday.