Josh Morris has been added to the New South Wales squad.
Josh Morris has been added to the New South Wales squad. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Morris will make Blues stronger: Gillmeister

QUEENSLAND great Trevor Gillmeister says the late addition of Bulldog Josh Morris will not only stiffen the Blues' defence, but will make it a tougher night for Maroons strike weapon Greg Inglis.

Morris was rushed into Laurie Daley's New South Wales squad after Josh Dugan was ruled out of Wednesday night's Origin opener at Sydney's ANZ Stadium with an elbow injury.

As Queensland's medical staff worked around the clock to get halfback Cooper Cronk on the field after he rolled his ankle during training on Friday, the Blues were forced to make their own changes with Morris getting the call-up as he was preparing to play for the Bulldogs against Canberra.

"I thought he was unlucky not to be in the starting side ... they all talk up what a good job he does on GI (Inglis)," said Gillmeister, famous for getting out of his hospital bed to guide Queensland to an unlikely 3-0 series whitewash of NSW in 1995.

"I don't think they lose much at all, to be honest. I think it makes them stronger.

"Dugan probably brings a bit more with the footy, a bit more unpredictability.

"But you know what you are going to get with Morris. He's going to be solid, he'll be up in GI's face all night."

The Queensland camp was hopeful Cronk would overcome his sprained ankle, but if not Johnathan Thurston would slip into the No.7 jumper, with his Cowboys grand final-winning teammate Michael Morgan starting at five-eighth and Jacob Lillyman giving the Maroons a heavyweight four-forward bench.

"I would be very surprised if he (Cronk) didn't play," Gillmeister said.

He also said Lillyman would be a good addition to the bench, in preference to halfback Daly Cherry-Evans, after his dominant display for Queensland in its 52-6 game three win last year.

"I love Jakey. You know what he brings. If he gets a chance he won't let us down," Gillmeister said.