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Maroons forward Joe Ofahengaue

"You’ve got to believe."

If 'Coach Whisperer' Bradley Charles Stubbs was the silent voice behind Queensland's game one heroics in Brisbane, Maroons coach Kevin Walters need only look within for the decider.

A reshuffled Maroons line-up with two debutants in Christian Welch and Corey Norman took to the training field for the first time on Tuesday morning as they seek to regroup from their 38-6 defeat in Perth to claim the Holden State of Origin decider in Sydney next Wednesday night.

They are rank outsiders with betting agencies but Broncos prop Joe Ofahengaue has never been one to bow to the odds.

Told by club doctors that he would miss the rest of the series after suffering a horrific gash below his right knee in game one, Ofahengaue used the strength of his partner Sofi Leota to plot his early return.

In April last year Sofi was diagnosed with breast cancer yet showed amazing strength and courage throughout her fight, finally able to announce she was in remission in January this year.

By her side throughout the entire ordeal, Ofahengaue lent on Sofi for support given his painful ending to game one and used the power of positive thinking and commitment to his rehab to ensure he would be available for the decider.

"It was good to go to hospital for my reasons, not hers," Ofahengaue admitted.

"It was just a different feeling. She was actually looking forward to going to hospital because she was only going to be in the waiting room.

Joe Ofahengaue makes his Origin debut in game one
Joe Ofahengaue makes his Origin debut in game one ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"She's been awesome throughout this whole thing. She's been telling me I was going to play game three.

"There were times where I thought I wasn't going to be ready, that I wasn't going to be fit enough but she'd say, 'Nah babe, you will, trust me'.

"I believed I could be back for that Knights game and I set my goal to be back for that. The doctors ruled me out weeks ago thinking I wasn't going to be back for another three weeks.

"I set a goal and kept believing in my head. When the doctor cleared me I was surprised because I didn't think he was going to clear me.

"The mind is such a strong thing. I honestly don't know how strong it is but I know it's really strong. If you can win it in your head you can win it in real life. That's not just for footy but for anything.

"You've got people out there battling cancer and if they believe that they can beat it then they can beat it, like my missus, for example."

With matching scars on his right knee from his Origin injury and one suffered in similar circumstances while on a high school rugby tour of New Zealand, Ofahengaue revealed how he turned to Google to help speed up his recovery.

Munster set to be Maroons fullback in Origin III

"I Googled how to speed up blood flow around cuts on your leg because it's obviously so far away from your heart," he said.

"I had vibrations on it every night, heat packs. Sofi would walk back and forth from the kitchen warming up the heat pack."

Watching Game Two with a mix of heat packs, pizza and softdrink – "my Origin ritual" – the 23-year-old felt guilty for missing the massacre inflicted by the Blues but believes the Maroons now have a great opportunity to also defy the odds.

"I was bummed. It was more that you feel guilty not being out there with your mates," said Ofahengaue, who ran for 135 metres and made 25 tackles in his return against the Knights last Saturday.

"We've got a really good opportunity in this team to go out there and prove everyone wrong. All the stress will be on NSW and not us because everyone's running our team down.

"I've watched Origin all my life and to see Queenslanders, they all just turn up for each other.

"If we do that on the night it gives us a good chance of winning.

"You've got to believe."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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