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Star five-eighth Cameron Munster finally confirmed he would play in the Origin series opener but mystery still surrounds Queensland with centre Dane Gagai the latest casualty.

As unanswered questions remain regarding exactly what is happening in the Maroons camp, Gagai failed to train on Friday due to an illness and while fullback AJ Brimson appeared on the training paddock for the first time, his right knee was heavily braced.

Neither Munster nor Joe Ofahengaue could shed any light on who is playing in what position as the countdown to Wednesday’s game continues.

The Maroons will not confirm their 17-man squad until one hour prior to kick-off.

Media were kicked out of training at Cbus Super Stadium after just 10 minutes of warm-up on Friday as coach Paul Green seeks to keep the lineup a closely-guarded secret.

"I’m not quite sure who is playing where to be honest. Greeny is keeping that tight-lipped but I’m sure we will get that [positions finalised] in the next couple of days and we will go from there," Munster said.

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Valentine Holmes is expected to be the starting fullback, especially considering Brimson has battled bone bruising in his knee and wore a large brace in Friday’s session.

While the players avoided confirming Holmes as their fullback, Munster let slip Brimson’s role was likely to be as the X-factor breaking the game open off the bench.

Maroons centre Dane Gagai.
Maroons centre Dane Gagai. ©NRL Photos

"With AJ in the team he can play in the halves and also at fullback, he is going to be very vital for us and once the big boys in the middle start tiring out he will come on and be his elusive self and hopefully make some linebreaks and score some tries for us," Munster said.

With Kalyn Ponga already out with a groin issue and Munster (foot) and hooker Harry Grant (hamstring) having not played for four weeks due to injuries, the Maroons need every man on deck for every session to prepare for a game they’re expected to win after it was relocated to Townsville.

Munster admitted it is a risky move going from running for the first time last Saturday to being expected to play 80 minutes of Origin football 11 days later, but the Wally Lewis Medal winner is confident he will get through the game.

"I did have scans on it to see if I needed surgery at all and if I did I would probably be out six-to-eight-weeks so I’m very lucky I didn’t need to do it and I will be right for Wednesday night," Munster said.

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"I guess I kept it pretty tight-lipped at the start, I wasn’t quite sure where it was going to go and I trained Saturday and Sunday last week, that was the first time I ran in two weeks.

"I was 50-50 but somehow the physios got me up from the club and lucky to have such good support staff at the club that got me up.

"It’s obviously going to be tough. But at the end of the day, I’m going to do everything I can to play well on Wednesday and we will see how we go.

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"The lungs will be hurting but every game you play in Origin the lungs always hurt so I’m sure I will get some intensity in my legs the next couple of days and I will be right.

"Everyone who knows me knows I don’t really do too much preparation or when it comes to training, I usually just run out on the paddock."

The Maroons players have been given Saturday off but will be back on the field on Sunday for their most important training run ahead of their departure to Townsville on Monday.

 

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