Queensland coach Kevin Walters has declared war on NSW, saying he expects to win next week's State of Origin series opener with a new-look side boasting three debutants.
A pumped up Walters uncharacteristically talked up the Maroons' chances for the June 5 Suncorp Stadium clash after unveiling three new faces on the bench - 19-year-old David Fifita, fellow Brisbane forward Joe Ofahengaue and Wests Tigers utility Moses Mbye.
Fifita, who has played just 21 NRL games, becomes the first player born in the 2000s to play Origin football.
Overall seven changes have been made to the Maroons squad that claimed an 18-12 victory in the dead-rubber third game last year.
Walters was clearly excited about the youth policy that he has adopted after NSW claimed the 2018 Origin series 2-1.
"This is war. We are playing at home and we are going to put on a performance that everyone will be proud of - it's on," Walters said.
"With the team we have picked I expect to win game one.
"We have picked a great side ... and they will show how great they are at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday week."
Walters played down the injury cloud hanging over halfback and captaincy contender Daly Cherry-Evans (ankle), Tigers captain Mbye (groin) and Gold Coast prop Jai Arrow (leg).
Manly skipper Cherry-Evans has been named at halfback despite battling an ankle injury and is also expected to be unveiled as Maroons captain at a function on Monday night.
He expected the full squad to be training together by Thursday.
"It (injuries) won't affect us one little bit," Walters said.
Coen Hess, Gavin Cooper and Jarrod Wallace have been axed while fellow incumbent forward Tim Glasby has been named as 18th man.
The Maroons squad is also without retired great Billy Slater, NFL hopeful Valentine Holmes and injured Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough.
Fifita squeezed out Hess in the squad while Cooper was dumped in favour of Brisbane back-rower Matt Gillett who returns after missing the bulk of 2018 due to a broken neck.
Wallace makes way for Broncos prop Ofahengaue on the Maroons bench.
Brisbane playmaker Anthony Milford is 19th man and Cronulla forward Kurt Capewell will be brought into the squad as the development player with the No.21 squad member to be confirmed.
Queensland: Kalyn Ponga, Corey Oates, Will Chambers, Michael Morgan, Dane Gagai, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jai Arrow, Ben Hunt, Josh Papalii, Felise Kaufusi, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire. Interchange: Moses Mbye, Dylan Napa, Joe Ofahengaue, David Fifita.
Australian Associated Press
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