Kevin Walters weighs options as Maroons cop big injury blow

Matt Gillett (right) has been ruled out of the State of Origin series decider. Courtesy: Adam Head

A firebrand prop and a premiership-winning forward are in contention to replace Matt Gillett who has been ruled out of the State of Origin series decider.

Gillett, 30, suffered “groin soreness” after the Maroons’ training session on Friday and failed to recover in time for Tuesday morning’s captain’s run at ANZ Stadium.

The loss of the 20-game Queensland veteran is a huge blow for the Maroons, whose next most experienced players are front-rowers Josh Papalii and Josh McGuire (13).

That’s an extra seven games of Origin experience missing from a crucial Game Three decider in Sydney.

Coach Kevin Walters has brought in Bulldogs prop Dylan Napa as 18th man “as a precaution”.

However, former premiership-winning Cowboys Ethan Lowe appears set to make his Origin debut in place of the injured Gillett.

Lowe was brought into Camp Maroon last week and has been training with the run-on side since Gillett suffered the injury on Friday.

The Goondiwindi junior is yet to play Origin and will be thrown into the furnace if confirmed as Gillett’s replacement.

He’s tried to run there in the warm up and hasn’t come up too well so he won’t be playing tomorrow night,” Walters said of Gillett.

“Now that he’s officially ruled out we’ll make some decisions about that in the next 24 hours.

“We’ve got some players more than capable and ready to put their hand up to do their job for Queensland.

“We can start planning ahead now to who those (replacements) will be.”

Gillett is renowned for his defensive effort and the Maroons will need to be able to cover his spot in defence with the veteran now ruled out.

The leadership now rests with McGuire and Papalii to power the Queensland pack.

Papalii is the only player (other than Daly Cherry-Evans) to have played in the last Origin decider at ANZ Stadium — when Queensland won 12-10 in 2013 — and will need to put in the biggest game of his career tomorrow night.

Queensland’s highest-capped player Matt Gillett has been ruled out of Wednesday night’s State of Origin series decider.

The back-rower failed to get through the warm up ahead of this morning’s captain’s run which will bring in either Ethan Lowe or Dylan Napa into the squad.

Coach Kevin Walters said he would make a call in the coming hours.

Source: https://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/nrl/state-of-origin/kevin-walters-weighs-options-as-maroons-cop-big-injury-blow/news-story/df08ca4f6f0ca9ea16d1e9b742bd7f35