Petero understands Origin team balancing act

MAROONS legend Petero Civoniceva knows something about beating Father Time.

But even one of the game's most highly decorated and respected players for Queensland and Australia feels the time is fast approaching for Queensland to turn the Origin clock back to 2006, and start investing in the future again.

Civoniceva was a rare bird, playing at the highest level well into his 30s.

He played the last of his 45 Tests for Australia when he was 35 and last Origin for Queensland aged 36 in 2012. He also played a Test for Fiji last year, aged 37 (pictured).

But if anything, Civoniceva says the Maroons could take a lesson from the way New Zealand have blooded so many young players and rejuvenated its side which has now beaten Australian in its past three internationals.

Civoniceva was part of Queensland's last major player overhaul in 2006 when Maroon selectors named seven rookies in the first game of the series.

Among them were Greg Inglis and Matt Scott.

Queensland lost the opening game 17-16 but won the next two to kick-start their eight-series streak.

A big component of the record run was the fact coach Mal Meninga and his selectors stayed loyal to the players who were winning.

But now, according to Civoniceva, it is time to again blood some more youth if the Maroons want to be dominant at Origin level again.

"It's always going to be a challenge. We've got senior players, some who have been around for a long time now," Civoniceva told APN. "If everyone stays injury-free, I'm sure we'll put together a really strong squad again.

"But I know (coach) Mal (Meninga) is starting to look at that next generation coming through, and all the signs are really positive.''

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Before retiring at the Broncos with more than 300 NRL games (74 of them with Penrith) in 2012, Civoniceva was overseeing the development of a young prop named Josh McGuire, now pushing hard for Origin selection.

"You see it week in, week out, just with his workrate and energy that he provides to a team," he said of McGuire. "That's all you need to play Origin and he's got it in truckloads.

"I'd like to see him get his opportunity. I think over the last few seasons, he's shown he's more than capable."

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