Greg Inglis has been confirmed as Queensland‘s new captain while veterans Darius Boyd and Matt Scott have been overlooked for this year‘s State of Origin opener.
Inglis takes over as skipper following Cameron Smith‘s shock retirement and will lead a new-look team, with Ben Hunt handed his first start in the No.7 jersey and Andrew McCullough taking over at hooker.
McCullough is one of three debutants picked, along with second-rower Felise Kaufusi and bench forward Jai Arrow.
But it could be the end of the road for long-term servants Boyd and Scott, although Walters said the door wasn‘t totally shut on either of them.
Chief selector Gene Miles said the scintillating form of Valentine Holmes couldn‘t be ignored, despite his selection on the wing breaking up the potent left-side combination of Inglis and Boyd.
And Walters said Scott was in the frame until he injured his left knee last week – the opposite knee to the one in which he tore his ACL last year.
“Matty needs to, for mine, play a bit more football yet,” Walters told reporters on Monday.
“Re-injuring himself again just a week ago, that was the real one for us.
“Coming back from a major surgery, we saw it last year – we left Billy Slater out of game one because of that.
“Scotty‘s been playing some good football for the Cowboys but we just felt it was in the best interests of the team to go without him.
“That‘s the worst part of my job, is ringing those players and informing them they‘re not in the team.
“It was a pretty ordinary afternoon for a few of those guys, very disappointing for them not to be playing.”
Walters admitted he was “concerned” about the lack of a clear first-choice goal- kicker in the absence of Smith, but said Holmes, Hunt and Cameron Munster were all capable replacements.
QUEENSLAND: Billy Slater, Valentine Holmes, Greg Inglis (capt), Will Chambers, Dane Gagai, Cameron Munster, Ben Hunt, Dylan Napa, Andrew McCullough, Jarrod Wallace, Gavin Cooper, Felise Kaufusi, Josh McGuire. Bench: Michael Morgan, Josh Papalii, Coen Hess, Jai Arrow.