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Cronk says Munster is Maroons game changer

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Queensland legend Cooper Cronk says Cameron Munster will be the Maroons' most important player in the State of Origin opener.

Most of the Queensland talk has focused on wonder-kid Kalyn Ponga and resurrected skipper Daly Cherry-Evans, but Cronk said Wednesday night's match could be decided by the five-eighth.

Cronk believes Munster - his former Melbourne Storm halves partner - has the ability to fly under the radar and break the game open against the Blues.

"All the talk is about Cherry-Evans and Ponga and all the threats of everyone else but nobody has really mentioned Munster," Cronk said on NRL 360.

"I tell you what, if the NSW right edge take their eyes to Ponga for half a second, Munster is going to show off his left and break them open at any moment."

Cherry-Evans has been handed the captaincy just 12 months after reportedly being on the outer in Queensland and Cronk hopes he isn't overawed by the title.

"Cherry-Evans is the first halfback picked in Queensland. His skill set speaks loud enough to have his name on the team sheet but the question mark for me is the captaincy, the five-week injury and he's only played one game in four years of Origin," Cronk said.

"So there's a lot of pressure on that guy to go out and play well, I just hope he doesn't overplay his hand. He doesn't need to be the best player on the field, he just needs to be the halfback and toss the coin."

Former Maroons enforcer Mick Crocker believes hooker Ben Hunt can be the impact player if he weathers the Blues pack.

Crocker said if Hunt could become the Maroons' most decisive player if he survives the initial onslaught from the Blues forwards.

"Ben Hunt is going to need to get through at least 50 or 60 minutes before he can have an impact because the NSW pack is big and strong through the middle and they'll be targeting him in defence," Crocker said.

"If he can withstand that defensive pressure in the first half he might get some joy in the second half."

"It's not through his running game which everyone is talking about, I think it's going to be more his control of the game and where the team gets to on the field."

© AAP 2019

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