Maroons not blue
THAT a suspected flu in the Maroons camp has attracted such attention is an indication all is well in Camp Queensland.
It means there is nothing else going wrong to write about and the NSW camp must long for such problems, rather than the reality they face trying to stop the Maroons' record run of series wins.
Queensland team manager and Ipswich product Steve Walters confirmed yesterday the flu scare was a minor concern ahead of Origin I in Melbourne tomorrow.
"A couple of guys weren't feeling great last night (Sunday)," Walters said. "So we just rested them up.
"They'd had a pretty hard weekend with three sessions that were reasonably intense."
Walters does not think the pressure to continue Queensland's unprecedented winning streak, currently standing at six series, was likely to bring them undone either.
"There's always pressure playing for Queensland," he said.
"But we don't focus on that. We focus on playing to the best of our ability and preparing well."
For Walters, it is familiar territory, having played 14 Origin games for Queensland and managed the team for 12 years.
Much has been made of the Blues bringing former front row greats Steve Roach and Glenn Lazarus into Origin camp to mentor the Blues forwards - props in particular.
The Maroons have had Kevin Walters and Mark Coyne do the same thing, while Steve, Trevor Gillmeister, Allan Langer and Jason Hetherington are all on the Queensland support staff.
But Steve doesn't think the presence of former players will have much bearing on the result.
"Everyone talks about the former players," he said. "But these guys (the current team) are here because they're good players. Having former players around might help a tiny bit. But the Queensland players are where they are because of the effort they've put in."
If anything is to derail the Maroons' prospects of a seventh successive series win, it is likely to be the desperation of a NSW team sick of being ridiculed as second rate.
"I think everyone saying they're going to lose (will motivate them)," Walters said. "If I'm in their shoes I can't wait to get out there and prove them wrong."
Given the familiarity between the teams - there are no secrets about how anyone plays the game - Walters thinks the difference between winning and losing will come down to the little things, particularly in game one.
"You've just got to get it right on the night," he said.
"You've got to execute well.
"The first game is always a bit tricky because both teams are a little rusty and it can be a bit frenetic.
"They're a good side so we're going to have to do well to win."
Junior club: Booval Swifts
Senior clubs: Brisbane Norths, Canberra, North Queensland, Newcastle
Origin games: 14 (plus three games for Queensland during Super League)
Test matches: 15 (plus three games for Australia during Super League)