Take mind games for Grant-ed as Maroons Hunt Origin win

·2-min read
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The State of Origin mind games are on in earnest, with Queensland coach Billy Slater cagey about whether he will start Ben Hunt or Harry Grant at hooker.

Hunt is named to start in the State of Origin series opener in Adelaide on May 31, with Grant off the bench.

That combination has worked a treat for the Maroons in previous years, with Melbourne's Grant coming on when the NSW forwards start to tire.

"We have named that team (with Hunt starting), but we still have to work out who starts and who doesn't start," Slater said.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy, a former NSW coach, said he would get Grant into the fray from the opening whistle.

"I'd be starting him," Bellamy said.

"He can play 80 minutes every week. The only reason I think (Slater would play Grant off the bench) is to have Harry come on after 20 minutes fresh, and he might do more damage.

"That might be a good reason, but the other starting hooker (Hunt) would have to be able to play another position I'd say.

"I'd be starting him, but that's not my job to decide. Billy will make the right decision I am sure."

When told of Bellamy's comments, Slater said his former coach might be on the money.

"We will discuss that with the coaches and work out what's the best dynamic for our team," Slater said.

"That's still a possibility. Craig might just get his wish. We will find out.

"Ben Hunt was super last year, came up with some really big moments, and you know what you get with Harry.

"He is a crafty little No.9 who works hard. He has Origin efforts in him all over the place. We will make that decision as (the camp) goes on."

Maroons and Melbourne five-eighth Cameron Munster was also happy to keep the Blues guessing.

"I don't know which way they are going to go," Munster said.

"In previous years Hunty has started and Harry has come off the bench. I'm sure they will probably go that way, but who knows? It could go either way."

Grant, 25, has enjoyed his partnership with 33-year-old St George Illawarra skipper Hunt.

He played the straightest of straight bats when asked if Bellamy might be proven right.

"I think what has worked well for us over the last few years is having that good balance of experience and youth," Grant said.

"That's one of the strengths of the side."