Former Panthers GM Phil Gould has declared that Cameron Smith will return to Origin this season.
The 35-year old called time on his Maroons career last year but there have been calls for him to back flip on retirement amid a leadership crisis.
And Gould supports that notion.
“I’m getting the gut feel not just that he will play but he has to play,” Gould told 100% Footy.
“He has to play, they have got no one else.”
Gould was not a fan of the idea of Josh McGuire starting at hooker with Ben Hunt coming on as his back up 20 minutes in.
“God I hope they do that,” Gould said. “That is not going to happen.
“Three weeks ago when they mentioned Cameron Smith I said no he’s done his duty, why would you send him back there?
“No they have just gone fallen over, fallen over, fallen over and now it is at the point where there is too much noise. He is going to do it.”
Gould believes the the Maroons will keep a Smith return in the dark until the very last minute.
“They will leave us hanging until the last minute,” Gould said.
“They might even go in with TBA, to be advised.”
Queensland coach Kevin Walters recently insisted that he would not be picking the Storm veteran.
“He’s done, he won’t be playing Origin this year, Cameron Smith,” Walters told Thursday Night League on Fox League.
“I won’t be going back on my word, no.
“Cameron said he’s expecting someone from Queensland put their hand up. It’s their time.”