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18 hours ago
Injured Maroons lock Tonie Carroll is certain his rookie replacement Casey McGuire won't let Queensland down in his State of Origin debut at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
"He won't let anyone down," said a disappointed Carroll after being ruled out of his 15th Origin with a torn calf muscle.
"I really thought he should have been in the team in the first place.
"He's been playing fantastic football. He's one of those blokes you hope gets a chance to experience Origin football because he really deserves it."
Team doctor Roy Saunders ruled Carroll out, saying his injury was "too unpredictable" to gamble with in such a high-paced game.
"We were fairly hopeful he would continue to improve, but he hasn't improved at the rate we would have liked so it's really too risky to let him continue," said Dr Saunders.
Maroons coach Michael Hagan has a number of options which include replacing Carroll at lock with Chris Flannery or even starting with McGuire.
He could also opt to player Michael Crocker at lock and start Carl Webb in the second-row alongside Brad Thorn.
NSW forward Craig Fitzgibbon said if Flannery started, his Roosters teammate would handle it with ease.
"If he starts, he won't be stressed, he won't even break a sweat over it," said Fitzgibbon after the Blues arrived in Brisbane earlier than usual to soak up the Origin atmosphere.
While dejected about missing the sellout clash, Carroll, who's missed a lot of football this season with a rib injury, said he had made the right decision.
"I believe I've made the right call," said the 134-game Brisbane veteran.
"Origins are tough. You have to be 100 per cent to even start the match and I'd be going into the game underdone and with an injury.
"The calf just wouldn't have held up."
Carroll had a MRI scan on Thursday which first alerted the Queensland team medical staff to his problem.
"We gave it till the weekend to try and remedy itself but it hasn't healed fast enough," he said.
McGuire, who was in Melbourne visiting his girlfriend because of the Broncos' bye, was told of his call-up on Saturday night.
The 25-year-old from the Sunshine Coast, who made his NRL debut for Parramatta in 1998, has now joined the Queensland camp.
McGuire is more of a ball player and support player than Carroll, who's a bigger defensive hitter and a more damaging runner.
He's been is great form for the Broncos this year and his understanding with five-eighth Darren Lockyer and his ability to support the ball carrier had him on the fringe of Origin selection.
"He's got a lot more ball skills than me, he is a very good defender and he is always there in support," said Carroll, uncertain how long his latest injury will sideline him.
NSW team manager Laurie Daley said McGuire gave Queensland another ball player.
"What they pick up with Casey McGuire is something they already have a lot of in the team, people who get out of dummy half who is quick on their feet," said Daley.
"They're going to look to expose us in the middle of the park.
"Losing Carroll takes some physicality out of their game but Casey gives them another strike player."
Carroll said he would consult Brisbane's physiotherapist for a further update but he must be in doubt for Brisbane's clash with South Sydney at home on Saturday night.