With the kick off to game 1 only a few hours away, while you are coming up with your topping combinations for the pizza and chilling the beer (or Sarsaparilla) I will attempt to bring you a rolling update of news and any late mail.
All seems quiet across both camps, NSW haven;t made a peep and now that we have official news on Cronk both teams will be settling into their pre-game routines.
Cronk Update (01/06 11.25am)
Cronk has been cleared to play.
NSW Firm as Favourites
Citing both QLDs disrupted preparation (Cronk or Morgan). An 80 000 strong home crowd with 'Blatchy's Blues' growing in number's and the predicted rain favouring NSWs large rolling forward pack, NSW have firmed in at $1.85 to QLD at $2.00, with QLD still tipped to take the series.
What we do know is history will tell us that winning game 1 goes a long way to winning the series.
Cronk Update (01/06 9.30am)
Still no word on Cronk. We first heard a call will be made Tuesday afternoon after the captains run. Then we would be told this morning a call would be made. Now the word out of QLDs Origin camp is that Cronk will be given until as late as he needs to make a call. But if you ask me Walters wouldn't disrupt players like Morgan's preparation (run on no 6. v utility is a big shift). I'm absolutely sure QLD would know by now which we they are going to go and will have already prepared for it. Origin is too professional these days for it not to be the case.
If we haven't heard anything by lunch time, no doubt Cronk will be suiting up. If he does pull out very late, NSW claims of mind games may be justified...i'll let you, the reader form your own opinion.
Cronk Update (Tue 31/05 3.20pm)
Walters has completed a media session live from Sydney ahead of the Maroons last session. He has confirmed Cooper Cronk will be given until tomorrow morning to prove his fitness. Cronk will train with the team this afternoon and a call will be made in the morning. Walters says he can not leave the call up until kick off as he wants his players to be as settled as possible.
Even though he acknowledges this is potentially Morgans first run on game for QLD he is more than confident in his ability and his calmness under pressure.
Dugan could miss whole series (31/05 10am)
Yes he has been ruled out for game 1. But worse news for Dragons and NSW fans and for the rest of the Origin series, is that Tony Ayoub has confirmed overnight Dugan will require surgery:
“Club medical staff have again consulted with the orthopaedic specialist and after further scans we believe the best course of action for Josh will be to remove the fragments via an arthroscope"(foxsports.com.au)"
Update on QLD (31/05 9.30am)
The Maroons arrived in Sydney yesterday afternoon and today they will have an opposed 'captains run'. Gavin Cooper has been brought in to assist with the session.
Update on Cronk (30/05 5.00pm)
NSW are calling it mind games. QLD are calling it a real concern. In his latest media interview Cameron Smith was quoted as saying:
"I haven't seen him for three days..." "I reckon he is a chance of playing although there is no guarantee at the moment" (qrl.com.au)
It is reported that Cronk will need to prove his fitness this afternoon in the captains run, if not Morgan comes into five-eighth and Thurston moves to Halfback.
More updates shortly...