Maroons

Napa 'comes of age' on game's biggest stage

In just his second Origin appearance, Napa took it upon himself to rattle the Blues with a couple of telling shots on clubmates Mitchell Pearce and Boyd Cordner setting the tone early.

The 24-year-old firebrand finished the game with 119 metres and 30 tackles and emerged as the new leader of the pack with the representative futures of veterans Matt Scott (knee), Nate Myles (elbow) and Sam Thaiday (dropped) up in the air.  

"He was outstanding," Smith said after the game. 

Smith lauds 'unbelievable' Maroons match-winner Thurston

Thurston, who will retire from Maroons duty after this year's matches with New South Wales Blues, missed his first Origin match since 2004 last month - the veteran sidelined through injury as Laurie Daley's side recorded a comprehensive victory in Brisbane.

However, the Australia playmaker was back for game two in Sydney on Wednesday and held his nerve to land a decisive kick in the 78th minute, after Dane Gagai's second try had enabled Queensland to cancel out a 10-point half-time deficit.

Maroons set to find new home in 2017

As they seek a third-straight Origin series win and an 11th in the past 12 years, the Maroons will be based in the heart of the Gold Coast at RACV Royal Pines Resort in 2017, just 50 kilometres from the Blues' new base at Kingscliff which was announced last month.

Cameron Smith says Alex McKinnon's 60 Minutes interview spurred Queensland in State of Origin decider

McKinnon was left a quadriplegic in March 2014 as a result of a tackle in an NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and Smith's Melbourne Storm.

The former Knights forward criticised Smith in a 60 Minutes interview for comments the Queenslander made on field, and also for an apparent lack of contact since the incident.

Smith was not granted a right of reply in the Channel Nine interview and had remained silent for a long period.

Cherry-Evans leaves Qld camp

Gillmeister says Warriors backrower Jacob Lillyman - not Manly playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans - is likely to come into the interchange if bench utility Michael Morgan is promoted to start in place of injured halfback Cronk on Wednesday night in Sydney.

"But I would be very surprised if he (Cronk) didn't play," Gillmeister said on Sunday.

In a sign Gillmeister's bench call is on the money, Cherry-Evans did not feature in Sunday's training session after being sent back to NRL club Manly.

 

Boyd to channel former Maroons greats

Boyd's 24th Origin appearance will be his first at his preferred position of fullback and he is fully aware of the importance of his role in the Maroons' quest to register a win in Game One of the 2016 Holden State of Origin Series.

As a youngster growing up on the Gold Coast Boyd would marvel at the way Darren Lockyer linked with his outside men and is using the presence of Slater in Maroons camp this week to nail the areas a fullback and his wingers need to get right in the Origin arena.

Cherry-Evans joins Maroons camp

Cherry-Evans, Jacob Lillyman (18th man), Chris McQueen, Brenton Lawrence, Nene Macdonald, Felise Kaufusi and former Maroon Scott Prince will all link up with the Maroons at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast, with new coach Kevin Walters set to put his squad through some opposed sessions.

Former Queensland star Justin Hodges will also join Camp Maroon this weekend as Queensland steps up preparations for Game One in Sydney.

Slater's new role with career on hold

Perhaps because his face looks as fresh as it did when he made his NRL debut back in 2003 the sight of Slater issuing orders to a Queensland backline boasting Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis and Darius Boyd was something of a strange one on Thursday morning but it shapes as a crucial part of the team's preparation for Game One of the 2016 Holden State of Origin Series next Wednesday night.