Daley keeping cards close to his chest
Conjecture over players' availability is the reason why New South Wales coach Laurie Daley has named a 19-man squad for Origin I.
With Michael Jennings yet to play this round and Josh Dugan (elbow), James Tamou (undisclosed) and Robbie Farah (concussion) still under selection clouds, Daley is approaching the Blues' camp in Coffs Harbour with an open mind following last year's 52-6 flogging in the series decider.
"There a couple of guys carrying a few injuries and we'll see how it pans out during the week. We're keeping our options open until we have to name the team," Daley said.
"There's still a few question marks. Faz (Farah) will be alright, I'm assuming, with his head knock which we still have to have a look at.
"It's just a matter of making sure everyone comes into camp and we'll keep an open mind and see where it goes."
One man who is slated to make his Origin return though is Andrew Fifita.
The Sharks prop has been a much maligned figure in representative camps in the past, but Daley thinks he has matured exponentially – particularly over the past 12 months.
"I've worked with Andrew now for a few years and you can really see him maturing all the time. I noticed the big difference last year when we had him in for Game One," Daley said.
"We wouldn't have brought him into the squad if we didn't think he could contribute. He's a part of it and I'm confident he'll handle anything that's thrown his way."
Daley was adamant his side would come up against the same old Queensland outfit when they come together on June 1 at ANZ Stadium.
Not even their high turnover of staff, the appointment of new coach Kevin Walters or the losses of Billy Slater, Will Chambers and Justin Hodges could shake Daley of his opinion.
"Queensland are a very well-oiled machine. Whenever you've got Cameron Smith, [Cooper] Cronk, [Johnathan] Thurston and [Greg] Inglis controlling everything they'll be prepared as ever," Daley said.
"They have good leaders and Kevvy himself has been waiting for an opportunity for a long while."
Daley wasn't going to deny his players a bonding session or two either when quizzed on the early proceedings of camp.
"I've never had a booze ban. But the players know they're here to work and prepare for an Origin game," he said.
"I think that the guys are old enough and big enough to know that you've got to make the right choice and the smart choice and prepare as best as you possibly can. On the flipside is you know the consequences if you make poor choices."
Blues 19-man squad: Greg Bird, Boyd Cordner, Josh Dugan, Robbie Farah, Blake Ferguson, Andrew Fifita, Tyson Frizell, Paul Gallen (c), Josh Jackson, Michael Jennings, David Klemmer, James Maloney, Josh Mansour, Josh Morris, Matt Moylan, Adam Reynolds, James Tamou, Dylan Walker, Aaron Woods.