Broncos 28 Raiders 4
Queensland's injury crisis has deepened and Canberra's season is getting worse after Raiders star Josh Papalii was ruled out of Origin II after suffering an ankle injury in a 28-4 loss to Brisbane on Monday night.
The back rower's hopes of playing at ANZ Stadium on June 18 were dashed when he succumbed to the same syndesmosis issue which sidelined him earlier this year, just moments after being named in an extended 22-man Maroons squad.
Raiders teammate Anthony Milford is on the cusp of his Origin debut after also being named, and looks set to battle for the bench utility spot with Broncos half Ben Hunt.
Josh Papalli leaves the field injured against the Broncos. Photo: Melissa Adams
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Fensom||Tries||1||Tries||5||Players||Copley(2), McGuire, Barba, Glenn|
|Players||Croker 0/1 (0%)||Conversions||0||Conversions||4||Players||Hunt 3/3 (100%), Parker 1/2 (50%)|
|Players||Penalty goals||0||Penalty goals||0||Players|
|Players||Field goals||0||Field goals||0||Players|
The 19-year-old insisted he'll be fine for selection, despite copping a knock to his knee and limping noticeably for the final 25 minutes against Brisbane, whom he will join next season.
"I just got a bump, I'll look after it tonight and I'll be sweet,'' Milford said.
"It's a blessing it [Origin chance] has come to me so early, I just want to make the most of it.
Anthony Milford was also hurt in the big loss. Photo: Melissa Adams
"It's a bit surreal, it's a dream come true and I'm lost for words.''
Milford and Papalii are very close, and the fullback admitted his selection was made a little bittersweet by back-rower Papalii's bad news.
"I was looking forward to going into camp with him and he'll be disappointed,'' Milford said.
"As much as I feel sorry for Papa, I know there's boys up there who will take his spot with both hands.''
Parramatta centre Willie Tonga earned a recall after last playing Origin in 2011, while Melbourne centre Will Chambers and Warriors back rower Jacob Lillyman are the other additions to the side which lost 12-8 in game one.
Papalii's injury is the last thing Queensland needed with superstars Greg Inglis and Billy Slater both in doubt.
Injury to halfback Cooper Cronk and Daly Cherry-Evans' promotion to the starting line-up has opened up a utility spot on Queensland's bench.
While disappointed at his own bad luck, Papalii backed Milford to embrace the spotlight should he make the final cut.
"No doubt he’ll handle it fine. He’s been in the system for a while and no doubt he’ll take it with both hands and come back bigger and stronger,'' Papalii said.
"I've been carrying this injury for a while now and I knew if I continued I know I wouldn't be helping the boys.
"Injuries happen, you just have to deal with it and see how you bounce back.''
Milford will join Brisbane next year and his future employers were given a glimpse of the spark he will provide them with his strong display in the first half.
The Souths Logan product is ideally suited to the Queensland utility role, given he played in the halves in the juniors and can also cover hooker and outside back positions.
However Hunt played the No.14 role for Brisbane for several seasons before making the halfback jumper his own this season.
"I really didn't think it would come this year. I was playing some alright football but always thought there were players ahead of me,'' Hunt said.
"It's always a goal. But it wasn't for this year. I was just trying to play good footy for the Broncos.
"I was just speechless. Didn't really know what to do. I just rang my family, partner and told everyone."
NSW will name its side, which will shoot for a first series win in nine years, on Tuesday.
Queensland squad: Darius Boyd, Will Chambers, Daly Cherry-Evans, Matt Gillett, Aidan Guerra, Justin Hodges, Ben Hunt, Greg Inglis, Jacob Lillyman, Chris McQueen, Anthony Milford, Nate Myles, Josh Papalii, Corey Parker, Matt Scott, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Brent Tate, Ben Te’o, Sam Thaiday, Johnathan Thurston, Willie Tonga.