Canberra Raiders and Australian Kangaroos prop David Shillington has been dropped from the Queensland Origin team, two weeks after starting for the Maroons in the series opener.
But Raiders backrower Josh Papalii has been named to make his Origin debut on the bench for the Maroons.
The mixed news for the Raiders comes as dumped NSW Blues winger Blake Ferguson plans his return to Canberra within the next 24 hours to face the club’s board and a decision on his future in the capital.
Having been endorsed by Queensland great Petero Civoniceva as a long-term starting prop for the Maroons, Shillington won’t be named in Queensland’s squad for Game II.
The Raiders vice-captain is also likely to be named on the bench for the Raiders for a third straight week when Canberra unveils its team to take on the Wests Tigers on Saturday.
Shillington has played eight Origins for Queensland during their seven-year dominance, but it appears Nate Myles will step up to take his starting role as prop in Game II.
Former Australian and Raiders premiership-winning prop Glenn Lazarus said he would be surprised by Shillington’s omission.
‘‘Queensland don’t usually do that sort of thing, they like to spruik about how loyal they are,’’ Lazarus said.
‘‘He wasn’t Robinson Crusoe when it came to performing below par [in Game I] ... there was a lot more issues going on with Queensland than David Shillington, again I find it surprising Queensland would do that ... they give them more of a chance than that.
‘‘They’re not only going to make one change, they’’ll make two by pushing Nate Myles into the front-row. But Mal has won seven series in a row, he knows what he’s doing.’’
A NSW great who played 19 Origins for the Blues, Lazarus would not be drawn into commenting on Ferguson’s situation.
But he did says the suspensions of Ferguson (indecent assault charge) and prop James Tamou (drink-driving charge) had disadvantaged the Blues, when they were just one win away from ending Queensland’s seven-year stranglehold on Origin.
‘‘I think it’s disappointing for [NSW coach] Laurie [Daley] he’s got to make two changes through off-field incidents,’’ Lazarus said.
‘‘It’s not needed. We haven’t won a series in seven years and we’ve done everything to give ourselves a great opportunity of winning this year and we don’t need those off-field incident.
‘‘I think the side Laurie puts out on Wednesday week will be a good side but I guess we’ll never know if we had the services of Tamou and Ferguson whether that was going to make a difference or not.’’
Queensland: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Greg Inglis, Justin Hodges, Brent Tate, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith (capt), Nate Myles, Chris McQueen, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker. Interchange: Daly Cherry-Evans, Matt Gillett, Ben Te’o, Josh Papalii, Martin Kennedy.