NSW great’s no-go warning over hobbled Munster

Queensland shouldn’t think twice about picking a hobbled Cameron Munster and NSW must resist any urge to target him, former Blues captain Paul Gallen says.

Munster was on Monday named in the Maroons squad for the June 9 State of Origin opener. However, the Test five-eighth has missed Melbourne’s past three NRL games with a foot injury.

Munster remains confident of playing. Gallen, who often battled injury before Origin matches, said that the Queensland superstar had earned the benefit of the doubt.

“He’s been around a long time and he’s the type of guy you can pick with no game under his belt for a few weeks, because he’s been there and done it before,” Gallen told Wide World of Sports.

“Him and [Daly] Cherry-Evans are the key to that side. They can just put a heap of soldiers around them, blokes just to get the job done; make their tackles, do their runs and they just steer the team around the park.

“Munster, you just pick him. If he’s fit to play, they would not even be concerned how much footy he’s played beforehand. You just put him on the field.

“Him and Cherry-Evans … you look at that team last year, we all know what was made of them. But the experience they had was in those two positions and it got them home.”

Munster was man of the series last year, playing with a dominance that was astounding at Origin level.

Gallen said that there was little point in NSW trying to blatantly target a player of Munster’s calibre, even when injured. The No.6 will likely cop plenty of work in defence without special treatment.

“He’s tough enough, he’s experienced enough. If he’s out there even 75 per cent fit, there’s no point trying to change your game plan to just try and target him, because he’s tough enough to handle it,” Gallen said.

“Then you start changing the way you want to play, just to get at one player. If it doesn’t work, then you’ve got to go and change back.

“Just play your game. The Blues just need to play their game and worry about their game plan, whatever their systems are; just worry about that. Don’t worry about trying to get at Cam Munster if he’s injured, just play footy.”

Gallen said that fullback was the big unknown in the Queensland team. Both Kalyn Ponga and AJ Brimson are under injury clouds, possibly bringing Valentine Holmes into contention at No.1; meaning less of a ball-playing threat to complement Munster and Cherry-Evans.

“It will be interesting to see what they do with the fullback; Ponga could be out, Brimson hurt himself on the weekend,” Gallen said.

“With those blokes out of the side, their X-factor and ball-playing ability, it gets lost a little bit if you have to replace them with Valentine Holmes; who at that level, I think his best position is on the wing.

“He has been playing some pretty good footy at club level at fullback, so probably not a bad replacement to be able to put there, but we’ll wait and see if those guys are in or out.”

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