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The last of's exclusive series of State of Origin diaries from NSW hooker Michael Ennis.

The talk this week by a lot of the boys is how they are not looking forward to Thursday because we have had such a great time throughout the 2011 Harvey Norman State of Origin Series.

I remember Ricky Stuart saying at the first Origin camp that this would be the best six weeks of our (football) lives and it certainly has been.

Whether we have been based in Coogee or we have been on the road, a good bond has formed between the players and staff.

We have taken some huge steps forward as a group and state. Finally, the NSWRL and everyone, not just the staff and the players, have contributed and made changes that have laid a good foundation now for what Origin is about. It will never go back to what it was. 

Saturday, July 2: Camp Coogee
I had to make a big decision to stay in camp at Coogee and not break for 24 hours like the rest of the Sydney-based players who returned home to their families on Friday afternoon.

My wife and little girl were sick with the flu and I couldn’t take the chance of catching it so I made a big call not to go home. It’s the biggest game of my career. I didn’t want to take any chances.

I haven’t been involved in a grand final. I was part of the Broncos squad in 2006 but missed the big one because I was injured.

This is the first time the Origin series has been on the line for a while, so it feels like a grand final. I’ve never been involved with a game with a bigger build-up. It’s such an important game and the biggest day in my career.

I decided to stay in camp at Coogee with the likes of Kurt Gidley, Akuila Uate, Greg Bird and Luke Lewis, but I managed to get out on Saturday morning and go to watch my son Jack play for the De La Salle under-6s at Menai. 

I had a quiet night in with Luke Lewis watching his Panthers beat my Bulldogs team-mates. It was disappointing to watch and even more punishing have to put up with Luke giving it to me for about an hour.

Sunday, July 3: Coogee to Brisbane
We packed up all our gear and checked out of Coogee before heading to Kogarah to train. We did a half-hour opposing session with the Roosters U20s, which we got a lot out of.

We went through various scenarios with all 19 players in the squad and then did a weights session before getting ready for the airport. Unfortunately our bus broke down on the way to Kogarah so we had a half-hour wait.

When we landed at the airport in Brisbane, there was a real sense of what was ahead. Luke Lewis found a “Go Queensland” sticker on his luggage, but other than that it was plain sailing to our Brisbane base at the Sofitel.

We all checked in, had dinner and got settled for a quiet night in.

Monday, July 4: Rest Day
Today was our rest day so I had a sleep-in, then headed to a café in James Street with a few of the boys for lunch and a coffee.

Greg Bird had his usual massive cup of coffee … it’s like a bowl of soup. He has three shots of coffee and about three cups of milk in it … then he has a piccolo to finish! Boy is he buzzing after that.

In the arvo we did a video session followed by our last jersey presentation at the Sofitel. Ricky has put a lot of thought into these. This time the Blues staff were asked to choose who they wanted to present jerseys to.

It was a good idea because as a group we are really close. In previous Origins, there was always a little bit of a divide between the coaching group and the playing group.

Certainly in this series, everyone has bonded and you feel like you're mates with the staff the same as you are with the players.

Matt Parish presented my jersey. He is one of the assistant coaches and was also assistant coach for me in Country Origin. He said some really humbling stuff about me.

The majority of the boys then spoke about how much Thursday would be a sad time as the camp ends.

The jersey presentations have been a really special part of the camps. Blocker (Steve Roach) presented my Game One jersey. A lot of people just hand them out and wish you well, but Blocker makes a real effort. He dresses in a suit and speaks about each individual he presents to. He shows a lot of pride in doing it and puts a lot of effort into it.

The Game Two presentation from my wife Simone was also very special. This time, it was good that the staff had the opportunity to take part in it.

Tuesday, July 5: Training at Ballymore
We didn’t know we were training at Ballymore but we were expecting a change to our usual routine of having our last session at Suncorp Stadium.

Ricky had got us in the mindset of not worrying about where we were training and what we would be doing.

We were just told to be on the bus at 10.15am and before we knew it, we were training at Ballymore.

Apart from the unexpected media conference at Ballymore for the Reds, we have managed to miss a lot of the media hype which has been good, especially for the younger guys.

The rest of the day was relatively quiet; had lunch and relaxed, then dinner and a massage.

Wednesday, July 6: Game Day
I am looking forward to seeing my wife and my brother. My three children will be staying in Sydney with family as they are still not completely well.

I will stick to my usual routine which involves eating specific foods, stretching and relaxing. I am a massive Weet-bix person and the Sofitel have really looked after me in that department; as well as preparing my chicken sandwiches for lunch.

It is such a long day before kick-off that I find having a routine really takes away from the draining nature of the day.

I can’t sleep. I usually get about 15 minutes into it, then I start to think about things so I just try to rest and relax instead. 

I can’t wait for kick-off. After six weeks of preparation for us and eight months for Ricky, it has all come down to 80 minutes at Suncorp Stadium tonight to end Queensland’s five-year stranglehold and spoil Darren Lockyer’s farewell party. It will truly be a fairytale finish … for one of us.

Michael Ennis will chat live with fans on on Thursday, following State of Origin III, from 11am