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Grant in Maroons mix for decider as Bennett weighs up changes

Dunamis Lui fears he could be one of the players to lose their spot after Queensland’s 34-10 loss to NSW, with coach Wayne Bennett considering rookie hooker Harry Grant for the series decider.

Grant, who was the Dally M and RLPA rookie of the year, would be almost certain to be called onto the interchange if star five-eighth Cameron Munster is ruled out due to the head knock that forced him from the field in the third minute of Origin II.

However, he is also under consideration for selection if Munster is fit as hooker Jake Friend has played 80 minutes in each of the first two Origins and received several heavy knocks in the second half of Wednesday night’s match at ANZ Stadium.

Grant, 22, enjoyed a breakout season after joining Wests Tigers on loan from Melbourne and impressed with his speed out of dummy-half and decision making.

With Ben Hunt replacing Munster at five-eighth, Bennett did not have any other dummy-half cover for Friend but it would be a gamble to carry Grant and Hunt on the bench and the latter can cover more positions.

Maroons prop Dunamis Lui.
Maroons prop Dunamis Lui. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Winger Phillip Sami is likely to make way for Corey Allen, Edrick Lee or Brenko Lee, with Bennett considering whether to switch Valentine Holmes to the wing or leave him at fullback.

Storm prop Christian Welch is due to return after missing game two of the Ampol State of Origin series due to concussion protocols and will replace Lui or interchange forward Moeaki Fotuaika.

"I was only filling in for him this week," Lui said of Welch. "He was just having a week off so I am certain he will be back next week.

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"Either way, if I am playing or not, I am grateful and privileged to be here among the boys.

"I am definitely looking forward to playing next week but if I don’t I am still really happy to be here."

Lui made his Origin debut alongside Canberra teammate Josh Papalii and played the first 19 minutes before being replaced and returning six minutes from full-time, while Fotuaika played 26 minutes.

Papalii said Lui would be better in Origin II if he were to be given the chance to play at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday.

"He has got that under his belt now," Papalii said. "He waited a long time for this opportunity and the experience will be good for him. I was very happy for him and his family and it is a bond I will cherish forever."

Lui said he had been emotional as he ran onto ANZ Stadium for his Origin debut before a parochial Blues crowd of 36,212.

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"It was a feeling I will never forget, similar to the grand final last year [with Canberra]," he said.

"It was the fastest game I have played in my life. I just tried to push myself as far as I could and there were moments there I wish I made a difference but it is Origin and I can’t take that back now, I have just got to move forward to next week.

"Hopefully I get to run out again next week and this time I’ll have my family there so it will be even better."

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.