Blues in tune after camp Coffs: Hoffman
On the final morning of the NSW team's Coffs Harbour camp ahead of Holden State of Origin I, senior back-rower Ryan Hoffman says all the signs are positive and encouraging ahead of Wednesday night's series opener at ANZ Stadium.
Speaking just before the side's second and final opposed session against extended squad members and a group of five NYC players, Hoffman said the intensity of the contact sessions had been "right up there" and exactly what the side needed to round off the week.
"We've wanted to have intensity right off the bat and that's what we've seen. These camps you can be guilty of wanting to do too much during the week. You want to execute well from the start," he said.
"When you train just with each other and you go up against no opposition you look like you could take on the world but that's not what it's going to be like on Wednesday. We are going to have blokes up on our faces so we have to get our timing right and that's why we have those opposed sessions.
"We have some good young kids from the NSW 20s program and a fella by the name of Greg Bird... he knows what this week is all about and the preparation we need."
He admitted it would be known until Wednesday night if the Blues had had a perfect preparation but added: "we're confident in what we've done and we've put in the right steps in place. We're not trying to be perfect today we want to be perfect on Wednesday night."
As the departure from Coffs Harbour draws closer Hoffman said this is the stage it starts to seem more real.
"You're a bit out of the picture up in Coffs. When you get back to Sydney and arrive at the airport you realise it's game time now and we need to focus. When we get there for our captain's run session [on Tuesday] that's when it will really hit home that we have a big game the next night. That's the most fun [part], the captains run. Everyone is looking forward to that."
Hoffman said the new faces had slotted in well while new five-eighth Mitchell Pearce is hardly a stranger to the Origin set-up having played in the five previous series before missing 2014.
"Mitch, besides last year, he'd been in quite a few series so he knows what Origin's all about and he's bought into what's been built quite easily over the past couple of days and of course the other players we brought in too.
"Most of them have been involved in an Origin series, even just in camp, like Josh Jackson was last year. There hasn't been any teething problems."
He added skipper Robbie Farah had also settled into his role well in the absence of Paul Gallen after having once taken on the role of stand in skipper previously, in 2013, when Gallen was ruled out during the build up to the Game 3 decider.
"I haven't seen Robbie change to be quite honest, he's a leader in everything he does," Hoffman said.
"He's been a leader at club level and obviously he's been a leader at Origin level but this is the first time right from the start of the series. It's a new role for him but you wouldn't know.
"I certainly haven't seen him change anything in his demeanour and in the way he's trained. He's been leaning on a couple of us a bit for, not advice but assistance in what he's trying to do."
Video courtesy of nswrl.com.au