Rookie duo Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford deserve to be part of Queensland’s State of Origin squad regardless of the circumstances, selectors say.
Queensland selector Des Morris says rookie pair Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford deserve their State of Origin call-ups regardless of the Maroons’ injury woes.
Hunt and Milford were the new faces in a 22-man squad named on Monday evening for the June 18 must-win clash against NSW in Sydney.
The pair will only make their debuts if injuries to Daly Cherry-Evans and Billy Slater rule those two out, but Morris says regardless of the circumstance the duo have earned their chance.
“They both deserve an opportunity,” Morris told AAP.
“Benny Hunt’s playing the house down, certainly made the most of the opportunity he’s been given at the Broncos at halfback and can certainly cover the dummy-half role as well if that’s required.
“Anthony’s been in the development squad for some time and been playing regular first grade for Canberra and playing well for them. It’s a great opportunity for him and give them a bit of a taste.”
While Hunt and Milford are experiencing their first taste of Origin camp, the extended squad also included Parramatta centre Willie Tonga.
The 30-year-old last played for Queensland in 2011 but his career hit tough times after featuring for the Eels in just 12 matches in 2012.
A serious back injury in 2013 almost ended his career and limited him to just four games, but Maroons centre Justin Hodges couldn’t be happier to have Tonga back in camp after his solid start to this year for the resurgent Eels.
“It’s just great to see him back playing footy,” Hodges said.
“Me and him have a long relationship with playing against each other for a long amount of years. He’s a quality player and deserves to be there.”