Gus pinpoints 'mismatch' exposed by Slater's 'gamble'

League icon Phil Gould believes the potential for Queensland to "soften" is there ahead of Origin II, and questioned Maroons coach Billy Slater's decision to replace Selwyn Cobbo with Kurt Capewell.

Quizzed on Cobbo's non-selection, Slater explained the young prodigy is "not quite 100 per cent at the moment" flagging injuries and "a few things he would like to work on in his game".

Maroons selector Darren Lockyer has since revealed Cobbo needed a break mentally while News Corp reported he's returned home to Cherbourg to freshen up.

Capewell moves into Cobbo's bench spot and is likely to play in the backs if the Maroons are hurt by injury.

gus pinpoints 'mismatch' exposed by slater's 'gamble'

Billy Slater has made a bold move as Maroons coach.

On Wide World of Sports' Six Tackles with Gus podcast, Gould described Slater's decision as "courageous" while being sceptical that the complete Cobbo picture had been made public. He said the "real reason" behind the decision may not become clear.

While praising Slater's courage, Gould remains unsure about the decision.

"You would think after all the platitudes he got for having a back on the bench ... you would think (he'd) just do that again for game two but for game two he's changed it up," he said.

"... (Capewell) can play centre but is kind of in the realm of what we were going to use Hudson Young for in game one and he has done it in the past and he has done it at Origin level in the past, it was just an interesting change up.

"Whether or not he thinks the conditions are going to be a little bit different in Melbourne ... whether he's just rolling the dice, I don't know."

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Slater's decision to have Cobbo on the bench for game one proved to be a masterstroke when Reece Walsh went off early due to concussion. The Broncos centre went on at his usual position with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow moving to fullback and playing a starring role.

Gould doesn't believe Capewell would have the same impact with Latrell Mitchell and Stephen Crichton in the centres for the Blues.

"He's at the back end of his career, he's predominantly played in the back row at club level for several years now, he's a very, very well performed and credentialed player but if he had to mark Latrell Mitchell for 70 minutes for example, if he had to mark Stephen Crichton for 70 minutes, I'm seeing that as a mismatch, that's the potential," he said.

"That may not occur but the gamble is now there that he's not going to have a Cobbo or someone to fill that in. If something happened to a Reece Walsh this game ... it's going to change the dynamic a little bit there too."

Alongside Capewell's selection, Slater was also forced to bring Felise Kaufusi onto the bench with J'maine Hopgood injured.

He also changed up his reserves with Dane Gagai, Heilum Luki and Trent Loiero all coming in at the expense of Brendan Piakura and Ezra Mam. Kaufusi was one of the reserves for game one.

Gould didn't go as far as to say the Queensland side has gone backwards but believes the 1-0 scoreline could be an advantage for NSW.

"It's still a strong side, they are 1-0 up in the series. They can soften a little bit when they're 1-up in the series with Suncorp to come, it can mentally be a little bit of a burden," he said.

"They've faltered at this before, under Billy not so much, but they've had some horrific game twos where they've won game one and NSW have made changes and belted them on the scoreboard and then Queensland bounce back in game three.

"... It'll be interesting to see how they come up for game two and how these changes play out during the course of the game."

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