3 hours ago
Hunt named Qld Origin five-eighth
Brisbane fullback Karmichael Hunt has been confirmed as Queensland five-eighth for the State of Origin series opener against NSW at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday next week.
Gold Coast co-captain Scott Prince was unlucky to miss selection, despite being one of the form players in the NRL competition.
Queensland chairman of selectors Des Morris said it was a tough decision, but he said selectors felt that Prince was a halfback and Hunt's versatility won him the No.6 jersey following the unavailability of injured Test skipper Darren Lockyer (knee).
Hunt will partner North Queensland captain Johnathan Thurston in the halves.
"It's a big job to fill obviously with a player of Darren's calibre not available, we feel he's played a fair bit of that position during the game and he's very strong in defence," said Morris of Hunt.
"We think he'll be a good mix with Johnathan (Thurston)."
Morris said he felt for Prince but pointed out the Titans' play maker was competing against the best halfback in the world.
"I think he'd be disappointed but Scott's a halfback in our opinion and unfortunately he's competing against Johnathan Thurston who's probably got the edge on him at the moment."
Test forward Carl Webb won a starting spot in the front row with Origin debutant Ben Hannant earning a berth on the bench.
Broncos utility PJ Marsh also will play off the bench despite playing just 63 minutes of football in the past six weeks due to a rib injury.
Melbourne hooker Cameron Smith will skipper the Maroons in the absence of Lockyer.
Queensland: Billy Slater, Brent Tate, Greg Inglis, Justin Hodges, Israel Folau, Karmichael Hunt, Johnathan Thurston, Carl Webb, Cameron Smith (capt), Petero Civoniceva, Michael Crocker, Sam Thaiday, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: PJ Marsh, Ben Hannant, Nate Myles, Jacob Lillyman.