Injured Maroons racing the clock
FORMER Bribie Island player Matt Gillett admits Queensland has a huge task ahead to win Origin II in Sydney and keep the series alive.
Gillett named the Blues' Greg Bird as one of the biggest threats to the Maroons, with the veteran set to resume his place in the starting side after missing game one through suspension.
"Greg Bird coming back will be a big boost for them," he said.
"Bird is aggressive and strong and will add a lot to their pack, which was very strong to start with.
"Tamou will come off the bench, which will give them a lot of strike power.
"We are going to have to prepare well and it is going to be hard for us to go down to Sydney and get the win."
A worrying injury cloud hangs over the Maroons with Greg Inglis, Billy Slater and Daly Cherry-Evans all in doubt for next Wednesday's match.
Champion Manly half Cherry-Evans is the most likely of the three to play, having assured coach Mal Meninga he will be right to go despite leaving the field in the 50th minute of the Sea Eagles' 32-10 round-13 win over Canterbury last Friday night.
Inglis and Slater will be given every opportunity to prove their fitness as Queensland faces a possible end to its eight-year State of Origin dynasty.
"We just have to get in a good preparation with the players we do have," Gillett said.
"I am sure it will get sorted very soon and we are just going to have to wait on that."
Gillett made his run-on Origin debut in Queensland's 12-8 game one loss to the Blues, in his seventh appearance for the Maroons.
The 25-year-old was promoted to the starting side following the unavailability of Maroons powerhouse Sam Thaiday.
"I enjoyed it and it was a great experience and I was very lucky to get that starting role in game one," Gillett said.
"I am a bit more comfortable to be in the side now and I can't wait to get into it.
"I am just happy to be playing anywhere in the 17, but I will have to wait and see what Mal has planned."
Thaiday's return means Gillett will likely shift back to the bench.
Thaiday has been in solid form in his past two appearances for the Broncos after spending six weeks on the sidelines.
Gillett said having the 20-game Origin veteran back would greatly benefit the Maroons both the lead-up and game itself.
"Sam coming in is huge for us," he said.
"He has struggled to get his calf right, but now he is ready to go after a few games at the Broncos.
"He is a big leader of the Queensland side and has been there through everything and will be raring to go next Wednesday night."