STATE OF ORIGIN
Maroons won't bite at Blues bait
Blues skipper Paul Gallen's double-shot at baiting the Maroons has fallen on deaf ears according to Queensland captain Cameron Smith, who will let the fans express their hatred when the visitors run out onto Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
Gallen told a Sydney radio show on Tuesday morning that he had received a better than expected welcome upon arrival at Brisbane airport on Monday but couldn't help but reignite the state hatred from five days ago when he referred to Queensland fans as having two heads.
It's a war of words that has been decidedly one-sided but Smith insists that eight years of Series victories has not dulled the feeling of hatred from north of the border.
"Whether 'Gal' is trying to fire us up or stir us up or upset us I'm not too sure but I'll have a bit of a laugh. It's quite funny I reckon," Smith said.
"We know we're playing against a great side and we don't need to call people names or call people south of the border names. At the end of the day they're humans like we are but for 80 minutes we're enemies and we go out and play as hard as we can on the football field and then after that it's done and dusted.
"[Gallen] is actually quite a good mate of mine to be honest. I've played a fair few games with him in the Aussie side so I don't think he really meant too much by it but that mateship is gone out the window on Wednesday night.
"He's the enemy and there's no secret; Queensland hate New South Wales and New South Wales hate Queensland. I can guarantee you that the hate for NSW hasn't gone out the window. State of Origin and the feeling around the games and the popularity... I've never seen it so great.
"If you're there Wednesday night I'm pretty sure you'll see it towards Paul Gallen when he runs out."
With noted nigglers in Josh Reynolds and Beau Scott in the run-on side, the Blues tactic appears to be one of intimidation and disruption but Smith warned that any attempts to put the Maroons off their game could have the exact opposite effect.
"When you don't react I think it acts in reverse for those types of players and that's what this team has done a fantastic job of doing over the last eight years," said Smith, who will join Wally Lewis with 31 Origin appearances on Wednesday night.
"We go out and play football. We don't go out to try and bait the opposition or to bait certain players, we just go out to do our job and if something happens we just get on with our roles in our team. The perfect example was Nate Myles. They had a bit of a blow-up there but he just got on with his job and we played footy.
"We can't control what the opposition are going to do, we can't control what certain players are going to try and do on Wednesday, we just worry about ourselves and that's what works for us."
The Maroons' head to Brisbane on Monday afternoon to finalise their preparations for the Series opener where NSW will be trying to win Game One at Suncorp Stadium for the first time since 2003.
Centre Justin Hodges pulled up well on Monday after completing his first full session of the week on Sunday afternoon with Will Chambers to remain on standby.
The focus for the past week has been sorter, more intense sessions but Smith admitted that he and the coaching staff won't know until 15 minutes into the game whether the change in approach has been a success.
"We've come into games before where we've tried to over prepare at times I think and that's probably been a hindrance more than something that's helped us leading into matches," he said.
"The feedback from previous years is that the boys like having the high intensity training but a bit more rest so we feel like we're ready to go on Wednesday night.
"We've had runs against two Intrust Super Cup teams in Burleigh and Norths and they gave us a really good hit-out so as far as training is concerned I've been really pleased with the way we've performed on the paddock. It's another thing to go out and do it against the Blues but our preparation has been good.
"It's going to be the first 15 minutes of the game [that will determine whether the side is ready]. So far I know they've prepared well, that's all I can ask of them so far, but it's not until the first whistle blows on Wednesday and we're 15 minutes into the game.
"I'll know by their attitude and the actions that they perform on the field whether we're ready to go or not."