Smith happy with changing of the guard
QUEENSLAND captain Cameron Smith is sticking by his decision to retire from representative football this year.
The Maroons are missing more than 100 games of Origin experience in game one on Wednesday night with Matt Scott (knee), Billy Slater (overlooked), Johnathan Thurston (shoulder), Corey Parker (retired) and Greg Inglis (knee) all out.
And more of the all-conquering Maroons team will be gone by 2018.
Smith said he would have no problem walking away from Origin next year.
"I don't feel the pressure to play on to make the transition easier," Smith said.
"There's been a changing of the guard a little bit for this first game and none of us know how long we have got. Only Johnathan has put an end date to it.
"Cooper's [Cronk] future is up in the air. Next year there could be half the side gone.
"I have spent the last 39 games helping players and putting the team in a good position.
"There will never be any pressure on a player to finish up or play on."
The Maroons will blood two new players, five-eighth Anthony Milford and prop Dylan Napa, in the series opener in Brisbane on Wednesday night.
Thurston will draw the curtain on his representative career after the 2017 World Cup and Queensland halfback Cooper Cronk is yet to decide whether he will play on next year.
The Origin future of veterans Inglis and Slater is also up in the air.