Queensland winger Corey Oates makes a charging run in the State of Origin opener on Wednesday night.
Queensland winger Corey Oates makes a charging run in the State of Origin opener on Wednesday night. DAVE HUNT

Corey shrugs off bug to star for Qld in Origin opener

RUGBY LEAGUE: Corey Oates defied a serious stomach bug that stripped several kilos from his hulking frame in the countdown to the Origin opener to star for Queensland.

The towering winger was one of the Maroons' best and scored the team's only try - a spectacular effort in the 36th minute of the first half - in its 28-4 loss to a classy Blues outfit at Suncorp Stadium last night.

Dad Warren, mum Janette and brother Matthew, as well as Warren's mum and dad, were there to watch Corey in his fourth Origin appearance.

Corey had been battling the stomach bug since Sunday and Warren revealed today that he had lost "quite a few kilos” in the lead-up to the game.

The Blues targeted Corey with their kicking game in the first half but the 22-year-old Central Queenslander was safe as a house under the high ball and again impressed with his running game.

He also soared high to latch onto a precision cross-field kick from halfback Cooper Cronk late in the first half to score the Maroons' only points.

Winger Corey Oates crosses the line to score the Maroons only try in the Origin opener at Suncorp Stadium.
Winger Corey Oates crosses the line to score the Maroons only try in the Origin opener at Suncorp Stadium. DAN PELED

Warren said the family members were on all on their feet as Corey went over for his second Origin try.

They, like all Maroons fans, were hopeful that would spark a Queensland resurgence but the Blues hit back immediately to take a 12-4 lead into half-time and then ran away with the contest in the second half.

"It was great when Corey over for that try because Queensland needed something at that stage, and it really picked the crowd up again,” Warren said.

"It was really good to see him play well but I still don't like losing.”

Warren believes Corey did enough to retain his place for Origin II but was unsure what changes selectors would make in a bid to keep the series alive.

"I think he probably had one of the better games, actually both wingers had good games. It's hard to think they wouldn't pick him again but you just don't know what's going to happen,” he said.

Warren said the barnstorming forwards laid the foundation for the Blues' victory.

"They definitely played a better game in the forwards, that's for sure, and that rocked us a bit to start with.

"I think (Andrew) Fifita was the big difference. He went forward and was making breaks down the middle which gave their halves room to move.”



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