Maroons disaster flips series on its head ... again
The Maroons will issue an SOS to NFL convert Valentine Holmes, with the Cowboys star to play his first Origin game in 854 days after fullback debutant AJ Brimson was ruled out of the remainder of the series.
Brimson will miss the following two games with a serious foot injury which could potentially crush his 2021 pre-season campaign with the Gold Coast Titans.
Brimson reported soreness in his left foot after Queensland's thrilling 18-14 win against NSW at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday night, with scans on Tuesday revealing a serious Lisfranc injury.
Brimson will remain in Camp Maroon and consult a surgeon in the coming days, with the injury having the potential to sideline him for up to five months if it requires surgery.
A shattered Brimson said he was devastated to be ruled out of Wednesday's second game at ANZ Stadium in Sydney after making a promising Origin debut.
"I was stoked to make my Origin debut and to get the win was an incredible feeling," Brimson said.
"I've got great belief in the squad and we're really well placed to go on and win the series."
Huge blow for Maroons. AJ Brimson to miss the rest of the Origin series with a foot injury. Kurt Capewell set to be cleared of groin problem for Game Two.— Pete Badel (@badel_cmail) November 5, 2020
With Kalyn Ponga (shoulder) already missing, the Maroons will throw the No.1 jersey to Holmes - one of the most prolific try-scorers in State of Origin history.
The Cowboys flyer sat out Queensland's comeback win in Adelaide after copping a one-match suspension in the final round of the NRL season.
But he will play his first Origin game in more than two years next Wednesday when Queensland looks to wrap up the series on enemy turf.
Holmes, 25, has a remarkable Origin try-scoring record, crossing eight times in only five matches on the wing to boast a stunning strike rate (1.6 tries per game).
Greg Inglis is the greatest try-scorer in Origin history, but he only managed 18 tries in 32 games (0.56 per game).
Holmes hasn't played Origin since July 11, 2018 after spending the entire 2019 season in the NFL with the New York Jets.
Holmes feared the Maroons would not change the team if they won Game One, but injuries will force coach Wayne Bennett's hand and he is excited to be back in the Queensland fold.
"It's going to be a headache for the coaching staff," he said.
"I'm excited to be around the boys and back in camp. There's new faces and it's a good time.
"To be able to represent this state and team is pretty special."
The Maroons have injury concerns with centre Kurt Capewell (groin) in doubt following his remarkable debut and Brenko Lee (calf) withdrawing an hour before kick-off.
Capewell was one of Queensland's heroes in the upset victory and Maroons doctor Matt Hislop said he expected the Penrith utility to be available in Game Two.
"Kurt aggravated his symptoms during the game, however his scans today are reassuring," Hislop said.
"We anticipate he will respond to further treatment and be available for Game II."
After producing a series of stunning plays, Capewell had to leave the field in the dying minutes as his groin injury flared.
His movement was severely restricted but Capewell said he was confident of backing up.
"I am planning on playing next week," he said.
"It's week to week now. We are happy with the win but our focus now is recovery.
"We have seven days to turn it around and do it all over again so we will learn a lot from this."
Originally published as Maroons disaster flips series on its head ... again