NRL coaching legend Phil Gould has called Reece Walsh's State of Origin selection "disgraceful".
The 18-year-old rugby league prodigy will start at fullback for the Maroons in Game II on Sunday night after playing just seven NRL games for the NZ Warriors.
Queensland coach Paul Green says he is confident Walsh is ready for representative football after showing skills and temperament far beyond his years in his debut season.
But Gould, a consultant at the Warriors, says Walsh is being "thrown to the wolves" against the Blues, and even a match-winning performance from the teenage sensation wouldn't justify his selection.
"Look, I hope he [Walsh] brains them," Gould told Nine's 100% Footy.
"We wish him well. No one at the club was denying him the opportunity if it came for him.
"But to bring him into a team that was beaten 50-6 in Game I, I think that is disgraceful by the Queensland selectors.
"To be asking an 18-year-old kid to come in and solve this problem is not fair."
Gould believes Walsh will develop into an exceptional Origin player for the Maroons, but blooding him in a must-win game, in front of an expectant home crowd in Brisbane is unnecessary.
Especially given the apparent gulf between the two sides after the series opener in Townsville.
"Everyone [at the Warriors] is just worried about his well-being and whether or not it is the right thing to bring him into this particular Queensland team at the moment.
"Maybe back in the day when they had Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater and Johnathon Thurston and a tough forward pack and they were actually on a roll, it'd be a good time to bring him into camp and let him see Origin football from inside out and maybe after a year or so you give him a shot.
"But not this team."
Walsh's selection comes with several Maroons unavailable through injury including fullback options Kalyn Ponga and AJ Brimson.
Despite his miss-giving, Gould is a firm believer in the skillset of the young playmaker.
"He's got talent and he will be a great Origin player of the future. I'll be cheering him on - I hope he scores five tries and saves five tries.
"But that doesn't justify the decision to throw this kid to the wolves on Sunday."
The Warriors have a week off, before next Friday's clash against the St George Dragons.
Join us for live updates of Game II from 9.50pm Sunday