Rookie Blues halfback Trent Hodkinson impressed coach Laurie Daley enough to be swept into the side in an attempt to arrest Queensland's eight-year winning streak, and in his short time in the Blues camp he's kept winning over the people that matter – his teammates.
NSW vice-captain Robbie Farah says the new halves – Hodkinson and his Bulldogs teammate Josh Reynolds – have really taken control during training session and their talk has been great, which has been appreciated by the forwards.
"[Hodkinson] is there for a reason and has been picked because we are confident he can do the job," Farah said.
"We’ve got full confidence in Hodko and in 'Grub' [Reynolds]. They’ve been playing great footy at club level and they're leading the comp for a reason. From all the signs at training they’ve been going great guns and we're confident we can take that into Wednesday night."
Farah played with Hodkinson for City in 2010 and says that experience was enough to convince him Hodkinson is a calm character who doesn't get flustered and is tough in defence.
"He's a proper halfback, he's directing us around the park, his service is great and his kicking game is spot on, which is important in Origin," Farah said.
"It’s important we get the end of our sets right, it’s so crucial. It’s probably an area in the last few years where we have let ourselves down. It’s such a key factor in big games that your end to the sets are spot on, that’s a massive advantage to his game.
"He has definitely matured. You can tell within himself he is a lot more confident and comfortable as a player. He's stepped in from day one and felt like he has belonged as a player.
"Laurie told them to take control and own the team, it’s their team and they've been great. No complaints from me, they are going great."
Second-rower Ryan Hoffman was also effusive when it comes to Hodkinson. When asked about the likelihood of Queensland targeting him in defence, Hoffman said: "Trent's always been a strong defender.
"He's been a very strong defender at the Dogs and Manly and I've got all the confidence in the world in him and as long as I'm doing my job and we're getting our boys in front we're doing our role for the team.
"I know he's going to do his job by tackling and getting his body in front and I'll get in there and help when the opportunity arises."
As for Hodkinson himself, he was as calm and unflustered as his teammates suggest when he spoke to NRL.com about his impending Origin debut.
"Training's been real positive, we had our first run [on the Wednesday] going through our plays and it was a bit of a lighter session but it was nice and sharp, then day two was up another level," he said.
"Everyone's on the same page, everyone's been talking and putting in and they've been going well."
He said from his point of view, Wednesday can't come soon enough.
"It's probably going to come around pretty quickly. I'm just going to soak it all up, I'm not going to listen to too much outside of what we're here to do. We're in camp, I'm just going to bunker down and I'm looking forward to it."
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