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Qld's Gillett out, Napa now in Origin mix

Qlds_Gillett_out_Napa_now_in_Origin_mix.jpg

Queensland's Matt Gillett has been ruled out of State of Origin game three, with prop Dylan Napa (pictured) being called into the squad (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) 

It didn't take long for Queensland coach Kevin Walters to dramatically change his tune about Matt Gillett's fitness ahead of Wednesday's State of Origin decider.

A confident Walters at first assured reporters that the Maroons back-rower would be given until kick-off to overcome a groin strain.

But soon after that assurance on Tuesday, a less upbeat Walters emerged from the ANZ Stadium dressing room to again assemble surprised media.

"We just tried to run him there in the warm-up and he is not coming up too well so he won't be playing," Walters said.

"Now that he has been officially ruled out we will make some decisions around that."

It was a stunning about face from Walters who earlier seemed confident Gillett would be given the green light for Wednesday.

"We will give him right up to game time, he's in there now," Walters said at first.

"We have a lot of trust in everyone around here and Gillo will make the decision that is best for the team.

"He's going to warm up with the guys and we will see where he is at."

Suffice to say it didn't go well.

But the withdrawal of the Queensland squad's most experienced forward was all Walters could confirm on Tuesday.

In fact there were more questions than answers about the make-up of Queensland's pack after Walters' dramatic news.

Teenager David Fifita had been tipped to be elevated to the starting side in his third Origin while 18th man Ethan Lowe looked set to make his Maroons debut off the bench.

But eyebrows were raised by the addition of prop Dylan Napa to the squad on Tuesday.

While Napa is officially their new 18th man, Walters did not rule out the Canterbury enforcer leapfrogging the likes of Lowe and running out on Wednesday night.

"Dylan has come in as a precaution and preparing for Origin," Walters said.

"He's been around the team before and very comfortable."

When pressed on whether Napa would play, Walters said: "We will make that decision soon - we're in no rush.

"We know that whoever wears that jersey will wear it with a lot of pride."

Napa's Origin cards appeared marked when he was dropped after being hooked 23 minutes into Queensland's horror 38-6 game two loss in Perth and didn't return to the field.

But the Bulldogs firebrand may yet be thrown a lifeline judging by Walters' excitement on Tuesday over his return to the squad.

"It's great to see Dylan, the big Nap Dog, amongst the group," Walters said.

"He's a great fella and a great Queenslander."

© AAP 2019

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