State of Origin: Reece Walsh under injury cloud on eve of Queensland debut

Teenage rugby league star Reece Walsh suffered a hamstring injury during Queensland's final training session ahead of his scheduled State of Origin debut on Sunday, and has been ruled out of the clash against New South Wales.

The 18-year-old was a shock inclusion in Queensland's Game II side, named at fullback by coach Paul Green.

But the New Zealand Warriors prodigy sustained the injury during the captain's run on Saturday and the Maroons have confirmed that he has a low-grade hamstring strain.

Green had earlier told the Courier Mail he was optimistic Walsh will take his place in the No.1 jersey for the Maroons.

"Reece did most of the run, but he pulled up a bit earlier," Green said.

"His leg was a bit tight so we didn't want to risk him.

"I have to talk to the doctors, so I don't know the specifics of it.

"I'm not sure if he will play. I think he will, but we will assess him and see how he feels in the morning."

Valentine Holmes will shift from wing to fullback, with Sharks flyer Ronaldo Mulitalo to make his Origin debut on the flank.

Queensland coaching great Wayne Bennett had earlier backed Walsh's Origin inclusion.

Many skeptics, including Warriors consultant Phil Gould, have slammed the selection, but Bennett says he would have picked Walsh for the must-win clash against the Blues. 

"Reece has a God-given ability to play the game," Bennett said.

"The young kids in the NRL are much more advanced today and we have better systems and pathways as clubs to help equip them for the NRL.

"The big thing these days is television. Reece Walsh will have been watching all these stars on TV and so there isn’t a lot of mystery when these kids come into an NRL system and see the players they have been watching.

"Reece’s first game was against the Storm and they are the best team in the game with a stack of well-drilled rep players.

"He has all the skills but he also has the courage to play the way he wants to play. When the moment comes, he will back himself to grab it and he will also make his own opportunities because of his talent.

"The thing I like about Reece is he backs himself and one thing Queensland have to do on Sunday night is back themselves.

"He has no fear of failure, so that’s why he will do well."

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