Queensland have released Eels hooker Reed Mahoney just one day after selecting him in the Maroons Origin side.
Despite coming into camp with injury concerns over fullback Kalyn Ponga, five-eighth Cameron Munster and hooker Harry Grant, Maroons coach Paul Green appears happy that Grant will be right to play.
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The Melbourne Storm rake hasn’t played since round 9 when he strained his hamstring in the 50-0 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
But having spent several weeks getting better on the sidelines, Grant has clearly impressed his coach with his fitness, meaning the Eels star has been named in the club’s clash with the Newcastle Knights on Sunday afternoon.
The news appeared to come as a surprise to Grant himself with the incumbent Maroons rake agreeing with former mentor Cameron Smith that Mahoney had superseded him as the No. 1 hooker for Queensland.
“Right now, given Harry has only played the five games – he didn’t play the start of the year with a knee injury, he’s now off the park with a hamstring injury – and Reed’s played every game this year and playing really well, you’d probably start with Reed,” Smith said last month.
“You’d start with Reed, he’s tough … he’s made 60-odd tackles plenty of times in his career, it’s going to take that in the Origin arena.
“He’s got great service from dummy-half, he’s got a pretty good running game and a kicking game as well.
“He’s got all the threats there, then you bring a Harry Grant onto the field just before halftime.
“He can come on, use his silky skills and his craft and try and tear apart the Blues.”
It was the plan that many believed would happen after Grant starred off the bench alongside former Roosters hooker Jake Friend.
Even Grant appeared to believe it was the way to go.
“For sure, I think he has been the form hooker all year,” Grant said.
“Some of the things that he has been doing in the game not only defensively but also in attack and the minutes he is pumping out, he has had an awesome start to the year.”
But with Mahoney named 19th man, the Eels star will be free to help his club side get back on track after back-to-back losses.