FOCUS: Bundaberg's Felise Kaufusi has been praised by injured Maroon Matt Gillett for his performance in State of Origin this year.
FOCUS: Bundaberg's Felise Kaufusi has been praised by injured Maroon Matt Gillett for his performance in State of Origin this year. Bradley Kanaris

Kaufusi one of the best in Origin series

LEAGUE: Injured workhorse Matt Gillett says his Origin replacement Felise Kaufusi has been one of Queensland's success stories in a beaten team.

Gillett has missed the entire series due to a serious neck injury, but says he has enjoyed seeing Kaufusi go to work on the right edge for the Maroons, where he played six consecutive matches in 2016-17.

"Felise is doing a really good job there - he's been playing 80 minutes which is a big thing to do,'' Gillett said.

"Hopefully he will continue it on Wednesday night.

"Felise is a great player and has come from a great system in Melbourne. He played for Australia last year and Queensland this year.''

Despite Queensland's loss in Game Two, Kaufusi delivered in defence, missing none of his 33 attempted tackles, after missing eight in his debut.

Kaufusi's tackling on Queensland's right edge is important in limiting the opportunities for opposite New South Wales number Boyd Cordner and fellow Blues centre Latrell Mitchell.

Maroons packmate Josh McGuire said Kaufusi had come through his debut Origin series so far with "flying colours''.

"I think he's done really well. You don't know how anyone will go in Origin until they play it,'' McGuire said.

"He had some big shoes to fill with Matt Gillett not there. He'll be better for the experience.''

Gillett, who hopes to return in about a month for Brisbane, said he will relish the consolation-prize experience tonight of witnessing an Origin match as a spectator.

"There's nothing better than playing Origin if you're a footballer,'' said Gillett.

"As a kid I never really experienced a State of Origin game, so I'll like to see what it is like to watch from the crowd. It will be pretty special, especially as it's the last game for Billy (Slater) and our boys will look to send him out the winner he is.''



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