Recovering backrower Sam Thaiday appears to have asked Queensland coach Mal Meninga not to be considered for the May 28 Origin opener against NSW.
A quick chat with Queensland coach Mal Meninga appears to have ended weeks of speculation over injured Brisbane backrower Sam Thaiday’s State of Origin game one hopes.
Sydney Roosters forward Aidan Guerra is in line to make his Origin debut after it emerged a recovering Thaiday (calf) asked Meninga on Sunday not to be considered for the May 28 opener in Brisbane.
However, Gold Coast wrecking ball David Taylor may have to wait longer to end his two-year Origin exile after selectors appeared to go cold on his Queensland claims.
The fiercely loyal Meninga had claimed he would stick with his incumbent back row for Origin I, saying last week Thaiday would “be there” despite a month spent on the sidelines.
However, Thaiday appears to have removed himself from the equation after seeking out Meninga for a heart-to-heart on Sunday barely 24 hours before the game one team is announced.
Thaiday has not played since the April 11 NRL clash with the Gold Coast.
“He spoke with Mal today. You would say he would be unlikely to play,” Maroons chairman of selectors Des Morris told AAP.
“He has been out for about four weeks now. He obviously needs treatment.”
Asked to confirm speculation Guerra would replace Thaiday for Origin I, Morris said: “He is certainly in the mix”.
Guerra had been set to be named 18th man but may yet replace Thaiday in the starting back row against NSW in Origin I.
However, Taylor looks set to be overlooked again despite capping an impressive month-long lead-up with a 159m effort for a depleted Titans in Friday night’s 22-8 loss to Brisbane.
“He is playing pretty well, he is certainly in discussions,” Morris said.
But he added: “He is not far away if he doesn’t make this one.”
Taylor looks set to be overshadowed by the likes of New Zealand Warriors forward Jacob Lillyman in what looms as an 18-strong Queensland squad to be named on Monday night.
Despite Taylor’s form, Meninga looks set to stay true with out-of-sorts incumbents Chris McQueen of South Sydney and Canberra’s Josh Papalii who notched 121m in Sunday’s loss to Penrith.
Morris said Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans would also remain on the bench despite his “amazing” NRL form.
Just like he did in the recent trans-Tasman Test, Cherry-Evans has been asked to bide his time behind Melbourne No.7 Cooper Cronk.
“I know Daly would wish to have a shot in there but he has to sit back and wait – Cooper Cronk had to wait his turn,” Morris said.
Whoever wears the No.7 will relish linking with pivot Johnathan Thurston who put on another masterclass to inspire the Cowboys’ 42-10 weekend win over the Roosters, a fitting reward in his 200th game for North Queensland.
“We are fortunate to have three of the best halves in the comp,” Morris said.
Expected Queensland Origin I squad: Billy Slater, Brent Tate, Greg Inglis, Justin Hodges, Darius Boyd, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith, Nate Myles, Aidan Guerra, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker. Interchange: Daly Cherry-Evans, Chris McQueen, Ben Te’o, Josh Papalii. 18th man: Jacob Lillyman.