Sympathetic DCE's advice after stunning Qld Origin call

·2-min read
Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans has urged his axed teammates not to linger on their omissions that stunned their NSW rivals, insisting they could still play a role later in the series.

Second-year Maroons coach Billy Slater will roll out a new-look side in Adelaide's State of Origin opener on May 31 after leaving out Kalyn Ponga, Dane Gagai and Kurt Capewell.

Ponga (concussion) and Capewell (shoulder) were under injury clouds and have been replaced by the in-form Reece Walsh and David Fifita respectively.

But in arguably the biggest call, Newcastle centre Gagai was fit and has been overlooked after playing in every Origin game since the third match of 2015.

In a move at odds with the Maroons' general custom to "pick and stick", Slater has instead opted for the form and speed of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to match up against Blues powerhouse Latrell Mitchell.

Slater said breaking the news to Gagai was the toughest phone call he made.

"Stunning," Blues assistant coach Greg Alexander told SEN.

"When you think Queensland over the last seven or eight years, I think Cameron Munster, Josh Papalii and Dane Gagai. Dane Gagai is one of those players that just produces for Queensland and has every time."

Gagai and Ponga's Newcastle teammate Tyson Frizell admitted he was surprised by their omissions.

"I guess they do miss that experience. Gags, every game since his debut he's been one of their best," the Blues forward said.

Cherry-Evans sympathised after he too was dropped in 2015.

"They are tough calls but they are the decision that as a player, once they are made, you can't linger on them," he told AAP. 

"They are friends of mine now, so I definitely feel for those boys, mainly because I have been there before."

Cherry-Evans said the trio must respond appropriately at club level "with the passion and desire that shows they still want to be here".

"There is still a massive chance those boys can play a massive role for Queensland throughout this series," he said.

Pat Carrigan, last year's man of the series, said the selection calls had been felt when the Maroons squad assembled on Monday.

"It's different; some guys missed out I've got some good relationships with, so it's tough to see," he said.

"But Bill's given some guys an opportunity and I know they'll stand up and I've got plenty of mates in this team.

"It is (cut-throat) but every time you put the jersey on you're expected to perform, so nothing changes for me."