INSIDE ORIGIN | Tuesday 11 July
NSW VB Blues captain Boyd Cordner has given himself until today’s Captain's Run to declare his fitness but is confident he will lead the state onto Suncorp Stadium in one of the biggest games of his career. Having battled a calf injury since the side's 18-16 loss in Origin II, Cordner declared he has done everything he can to make sure he’ll take his place on Wednesday night. “[Sunday] wasn't a grand final for me, but it was definitely one of the training sessions I have been nervous before," he said at yesterday's media call. "I got a lot of work done through the week, I have done everything that was asked of me and at this stage I will be playing but I still have to get through the Captain's Run.”
After impressing with consistent performances for their respective clubs throughout 2017, young star Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic and Storm hardman Dale Finucane have been added to the extended squad as depth cover. Trbjoevic will join his brother Jake who will line up for the Blues, while Finucane will join the squad for the first time in his career. The Storm forward said it was a "surreal experience" to join the NSW side, even as a standby player.
Smith insists Billy fit
Despite Queensland fullback Billy Slater rolling his ankle in a training run on Tuesday, Maroons skipper Cameron Smith has said that his Melbourne team-mate should be okay to take his place in the series decider. “He’s walking around and told me he’s done a few hops on his foot. I think he’ll be right to play. I’m not a doctor or physio but he looked pretty good to me," Smith said at yesterday's media opportunity.
Maloney: Origin III down to Blues
NSW VB Blues five-eighth James Maloney has declared the series decider will be determined by the Blues' own performance. “Come Wednesday we’ll decide the game. If we win it will be because of what we did and if we lost it will be because of what we did.” After a dominant performance in Origin I, Maloney says their 18-16 loss in Game II was certainly a “missed opportunity” but is confident they can put it together. “I reckon if we play our best football we’ll still come out on top. I felt that in Game Two and it was us who let them back in it and let it slip, so hopefully we don’t let that happen.”
Cordner loves Laurie
VB Blues captain Cordner has thrown his support behind Laurie Daley in the hopes he continues on as head coach following the series decider. ”I love 'Loz' as a coach. I don't think I've met a more passionate man who's worn the blue jersey. I think it's carbon-copied for him to have his job just with the emotion he shows. He wears his heart on his sleeve. A hundred per cent I want him to stay.”
That man, coach Daley, will front the media after today's Captain’s Run - when Cordner's fitness will likely be decided. The Maroons, meanwhile, have Kevin Walters up for media before his side's final run at Suncorp Stadium. The VB Blues leave their Kingscliff base this morning, settling into Brisbane accommodation after their final training session before the decider.
Brad Fittler's NSW Under-16s side has made it to Queensland. The team flew to Brisbane yesterday, ahead of their curtain-raiser against Queensland before Origin III. Catch some of the future stars of the game, including Ben Trbojevic, brother of Tom and Jake, live on www.NSWRL.com.au and the NSWRL app in our official live stream.
Women's side selected
Ben Cross named his NSW Women's Interstate Challenge side yesterday, with eight members of the Australian Jillaroos in the side. The Harvey Norman Interstate Challenge, with NSW facing Queeensland, will be broadcast live on Fox League on 23 July, the first of two games in a double-header before the Round 20 NRL clash between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.