CQ boys to provide firepower and grunt for Origin epic
RUGBY LEAGUE: They're the Central Queensland trio who will provide the firepower and the grunt for the Maroons in their all-important Origin decider at a heaving Suncorp Stadium.
After forging their football foundations on the rugby league fields of the Rockhampton region, Cameron Munster, Ben Hunt and Tim Glasby will tonight have their chance to etch their place in the annals of Origin folklore.
Melbourne Storm's tough-tackling forward Glasby was there for Game II and tonight attacking weapons Munster and Hunt will make their Queensland debuts in a contest billed as the biggest in the history of the iconic interstate series.
The Blues drew first blood this year with a convincing 28-4 win at Suncorp Stadium but the Maroons sent the series into a decider with a gutsy 18-16 win in Sydney three weeks ago.
The man who sealed the win, the legendary Johnathan Thurston, will not be there tonight, his pivotal playmaking role to be filled by Munster.
While he has huge shoes to fill, the 22-year-old rookie will slot into the Maroons super-star spine alongside his Storm teammates Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater.
Hunt and Glasby, who finished with 72m and 21 tackles from his 25 minutes on the field in his Origin debut, will have vital roles off the bench.
Cameron's mum and dad Deborah and Steven drove to Brisbane overnight, ready to take their place in the sellout crowd at Suncorp tonight.
Steven said no better script could have been written for his son's Origin debut.
"He's made an NRL grand final but you can't put it in the same context," he said.
"To play a State of Origin - and for it to be third and deciding game - I think that's even bigger than playing for Australia myself.
"Everyone lives for State of Origin and Cameron's going to be playing in the series decider in his first-ever Origin.
"And he's in there at five-eighth in the biggest game I think he's ever going to play in his life.
"I hope he comes out and plays the house down on Wednesday night.
"I think having the familiarity of those other Storm players around him will definitely help him."
Steven is expecting an incredible atmosphere at what will be his first State of Origin at Suncorp.
"I went to the Melbourne Cricket Ground two years ago when Queensland lost to New South Wales. We were right up high in the stands and that night we watched it with Cameron.
"Now we get to watch him play - that's such a big thing."
Steven is confident Cameron will handle the challenge but appreciates the speed and intensity of Origin will be something else again.
"He's just got to do what he's told to do. He'll have to do the hard stuff because we know they're going to throw a lot at him, being a debutant.
"He's just got to hold his defence and once the game starts settling down he should come into his own.
"Whatever the Storm have done for him in the last six or eight weeks he's just got better and better in that position.
"I'm just lost for words at the way he's been going. I don't want to jinx him or anything like that but hopefully he can play on Wednesday the way he has been for the Storm."
Steve said it was a remarkable achievement to have three local boys in the Origin side.
"It's pretty exciting for this area and proves this is a true breeding ground for talented footballers," he said.
Steven and Deborah said the excitement was building and they were counting down to kick-off.
"We're nervous, don't worry about that, probably more nervous than Cameron is," Steven said.
"It will definitely be a wonderful experience, no matter what happens. To see your son playing his first Origin in what is such a big game is just brilliant."