AT TRAINING: Dylan Napa is seen talking to assistant coach Trevor Gillmeister during Queensland State of Origin team training in Brisbane.
AT TRAINING: Dylan Napa is seen talking to assistant coach Trevor Gillmeister during Queensland State of Origin team training in Brisbane. DARREN ENGLAND

Maroons hardman can unsettle key Blues forward: Qld legend

RUGBY LEAGUE: Queensland legend Dale Shearer says a Maroons defence featuring flame-faired firebrand Dylan Napa can unsettle big-talking Blues forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard on Wednesday night.

The latter was particularly vocal about his intentions to cause some damage in this year's State of Origin series opener at Melbourne.

But Sunshine Coast's Shearer believes the Panthers prop, who will make his debut on the big stage, could actually be a weak link in the Blues' line-up.

"I think they (Maroons) can put a lot of pressure on him," he said.

"He's talking it up about how he's going to do this and that...(but) I watched his game against the Bulldogs a couple of weeks ago and he spilled a couple just by having a look (at oncoming tacklers).

"So I think he'd be one player to be targeting and I'd probably be sending Napa straight at him."

Campbell-Gillard, 24, made errors against a Bulldogs team including fellow Blues prop David Klemmer.

"So I don't know how he's going to go against Queensland," Shearer said.

Roosters forward Napa can unsettle the best of them, with his intense approach to the game, while the Maroons also boast the likes of rugged forwards Josh McGuire and Jarrod Wallace.

But Queensland will head into the clash as underdogs.

They were $3 outsiders with Ladbrokes on Tuesday.

'Rowdy' can appreciate the position the team's in.

The 52-year-old, who played 26 games for his state, was involved with many teams that were outsiders.

But he said anything was possible.

"It happened in '95 ... we got 18.5 points start (with a bookmaker).

"They were going to smash us. They had (Brad) Fittler and (Andrew) Johns and all these legends and we won (the series) 3-0. We had a heap of Nevilles but they all stood up."

Shearer, who scored 12 tries as a renowned winger and fullback, believed Corey Oates was unlucky not to be selected for Queensland.

He also believed Kalyn Ponga, who just missed out on a spot, was not ready for State of Origin.

"I know they're ranting and raving about him but I just think it's a big step up and you've got to be able to tackle," he said.

"I can't see this bloke (playing), until he starts putting some weight on.

"I know he's dodging, weaving and making a lot of line breaks but you've still got to be able to defend."

Shearer was also wary of the threat posed by Blues speed machines James Roberts and Josh Addo-Carr.

"They're the two fastest I've seen, probably ever, from New South Wales," he said.

"So if they're going to get in open space it's goodnight nurse."

He urged Maroons centre Will Chambers not to rush out of the line in an attempt to shut Roberts down.