‘No.21’: Who is Maroons’ mystery man?
Queensland coach Kevin Walters has begun the Origin mind games on NSW rival Brad Fittler by naming a mystery man in jersey No.21 - fuelling speculation he is leaving the door ajar for a Cameron Smith comeback.
In bizarre scenes at Queensland Rugby League headquarters, Walters completed his press conference, left the building, then returned to advise journalists he has added three players to an extended squad.
Tim Glasby was formally named as 18th man in the QRL's media release for Origin I, but Walters informally told the media two more players would be added - Anthony Milford as 19th man and Luke Capewell as No.20.
The Queensland coach then indicated a 21st player would be added under a 'To Be Confirmed' status.
Walters declined to name the player, triggering whispers the Maroons' Mr TBC could be Queensland's furtive plan to drop a bombshell on the Blues by rolling out retired Queensland champion Smith for Origin I.
When contacted later by The Courier-Mail, Walters again refused to shed light on his No.21.
In 2002, then Queensland coach Wayne Bennett famously exploited a loophole, placing the letters 'TBA' beside the No.2 position to allow Lote Tuqiri to serve a suspension in a club game before turning out for the Maroons.
The loophole was closed after that season.
The million-dollar question now is: will Kevvie really bring back Cam? It appears not.
It is understood Queensland are leaving the No.21 slot vacant for winger Kyle Feldt, who is scheduled to play for the Cowboys against the Titans this Sunday at Robina.
If the Maroons named Feldt in the extended squad, it would jeopardise his chances of being cleared to represent the Cowboys.
Milford and Capewell's Broncos and Sharks teams respectively have a bye weekend.
Smith - Origin's most-capped player with 42 matches for Queensland - last week told The Courier-Mail he would not return for the Maroons.
"It was never going to happen. I'm too old. Seriously," he said.
"I will always cherish my time in the Queensland jumper but it's time for the younger blokes to create their own dynasty."
But for now, let's dream of Cameron Smith in the No.21 jumper. Anything to get 'Freddy' Fittler a little nervous.