Big weekend ahead for Emerging Origin squad in Coast camp
RUGBY LEAGUE: Kevin Walters has been on an international fact finding mission and says there will be Queensland spots up for grabs at this weekend's Emerging Origin camp.
Walters has assembled 15 of the state's hottest Maroons prospects for the annual camp on the Sunshine Coast.
The Emerging Origin system has proven to be a successful program for Queensland, each year producing players for the State of Origin arena.
Last year's camp included 2018 Origin debutants Kalyn Ponga, Jai Arrow and Felise Kaufusi.
After losing last year's series 2-1, Walters has overhauled his coaching set-up,
He has also moved training bases from the Gold Coast to Brisbane, and said he would change his approach in his fourth year as coach.
"We've had a good look at ourselves and how we do things,” Walters said.
"You do that every year but when you lose you look a little bit deeper.
"I went overseas and had a look at a couple of the international rugby teams.
"The big thing was the communication with players. I've been respectful in the past of the NRL clubs that they're contracted to, but I've got the communication lines a bit better among our players.”
A part of Walters' revolution has been the addition of recently retired Origin legends to his camps.
Johnathan Thurston, Sam Thaiday and Justin Hodges will be part of this weekend's camps, while Petero Civoniceva and Billy Slater will be involved throughout the series.
Hodges is Walters' new assistant coach, while Thurston and Thaiday will work in mentoring roles with the emerging players.
"It's hard to measure the impact they have,” Walters said.
"I know they're going to be great, not only for the players but the staff as well.
"They've been very successful at that level and know what's required. If they can part any bit of knowledge on to our players, who don't have the same experience, that's invaluable.
"They might just take one little conversation from a Slater, Thurston, Hodges or a Thaiday and it could be all the difference in an Origin series.
"Every year there are one or two of these guys that will play Origin. That's been the history of it.
"There are guys in there who I wouldn't hesitate to play Origin.”
The Broncos will be represented by powerhouse forwards Joe Ofahengaue, Jaydn Su'A and David Fifita.
Young Cowboys playmaker Jake Clifford will be joined by North Queensland wingers Kyle Feldt and Nene Macdonald.
Titans dynamo AJ Brimson will attend his first camp, alongside Gold Coast teammates Brenko Lee, Phillip Sami and Ash Taylor.