Flu hits Maroons Origin players
THE flu has emerged as New South Wales' secret weapon before the opening State of Origin rugby league game tomorrow night.
New Maroons skipper Cameron Smith became the third Queensland player struck down since the squad arrived in Melbourne, quarantined from everyone else in the camp yesterday.
Dynamic fullback Billy Slater and forward Dave Shillington have also sat out sessions because of the same problem.
Speaking on the team's day off, coach Mal Meninga said he was confident the situation had been handled as well as possible.
"We've had a few with bugs but I think we've managed it pretty well," he said.
"We have him (Smith) in isolation ... we want him to be right on Wednesday. I imagine the Blues have a few problems as well."
The main issue for New South Wales appears to have been the condition of inspirational captain Paul Gallen.
But after battling knee and quad niggles, Gallen declared himself 100% ready to go.
"I had Thursday and Friday off, but we had an opposed training session yesterday and I woke up fine ... no swelling at all," Gallen said.
Blues coach Ricky Stuart said there was no mystery behind Wests Tigers prop Aaron Woods and Roosters centre BJ Leilua being called into the camp, mirroring Queensland's move to have Daly Cherry-Evans and Dane Neilsen join the squad.
"It's purely precautionary. They're two of our up-and-coming boys," Stuart said.
He revealed that Cowboys forward Tariq Sims had been going to join the squad until he broke his leg against the Panthers in Townsville on Saturday night.
Having already secured his place in Origin history, the Maroons players are determined to send out prop Petero Civoniceva a winner in his last campaign.