Tallis fires up aggression factor in Queensland pack
Aggression and intent will be front and centre of the Queensland pack's mindset on Wednesday night which is why the presence of Gorden Tallis in camp this week has proven to be a masterstroke by coach Kevin Walters.
The Queensland legend spoke to the forwards early in the week about what it takes to rise to the occasion in the Origin cauldron and Gavin Cooper and Jarrod Wallace are just two of the pack who have been inspired by the Raging Bull's words of wisdom.
An iconic moment in Maroons folklore was when a merciless Tallis rag-dolled NSW fullback Brett Hodgson over the sideline in game three of the 2002 series.
Cooper said the incident summed up what is needed in the Holden State of Origin series opener at the MCG on Wednesday.
"One highlight everyone sees of Gordie is him slinging Brett Hodgson over the sideline," Cooper said.
"The way he played was very aggressive and a few of our guys play like that back at clubland.
"In camp, he was talking about Origin not being won through trick plays. It is all about aggression and running hard and tackling hard. That is something he was really good at. If we can take any words of advice out of him that is what it would be."
The Maroons have firebrands Dylan Napa and Josh McGuire primed to let fly at Reagan Campbell-Gillard and company and Wallace said they now had extra incentive, thanks to Tallis.
"Gordie is a Queensland great and to have him there sharing that experience and a few old stories was awesome," Wallace said.
"That's the best part about these camps, you get the older boys in there and you listen to the way it used to be. It's awesome. He was one of the most aggressive players back in the day so guys like big Napski and Joshy McGuire were loving it."
The Queenslanders welcome legends of the past into camp each year as part of the staff where the likes of Trevor Gillmeister, Steve Walters and Allan Langer have key roles.
What they represent from a Queensland historical aspect is not lost on the current players. When Gillmeister imparts instructions with his name emblazoned on the back of his training shirt he is also a symbol of the 1995 team that he captained to a backs-against-the-wall clean sweep of the Blues.
Langer imparts his vast knowledge at training and lightens the mood with his larrikin ways, but his presence is also a reminder that miracles do happen, with his surprise 2001 return from England in game three inspiring the Maroons to victory.
Gillmeister and Langer arrived in a golf buggy for Sunday's opposed session at Sanctuary Cove, with Cooper cruising along on his bike holding on to the buggy.
"All the old guys that have played for Queensland and get in this environment have all got something to say and all the boys listen," Cooper said.
"From my first minute in the camp when I was 18th man back in 2016 that has always been the case. The guys around the camp, whether it be Gilly, all the Walters crew and Alf with the way he talks, which is a bit of a gee-up most of the time, are inspirational.
"But when Alf has got something to say everyone listens and that was no different the other day with Gordie."
Witness Australia's greatest sporting rivalry when Origin comes to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday, June 6. Bronze tickets available from $49 here.