Beetson still inspires the Maroons

Greg Inglis (left), Cameron Smith and Sam Thaiday shake hands with fans in Roma.
Greg Inglis (left), Cameron Smith and Sam Thaiday shake hands with fans in Roma. WESTERN STAR

QUEENSLAND players used the memory of the late Arthur Beetson as motivation against New South Wales in game one of this year's Origin series.

Following the success of that tactic the players not only visited Beetson's former hometown of Roma yesterday to meet thousands of fans, they also trained on Arthur Beetson Oval to kick off their preparation for game two in Sydney next Wednesday.

Second-rower Sam Thaiday said players would keep memories of the visit to the town, which was flooded three times in the last three years, stored away.

"I'm sure everyone that turned out and the players will remember it," Thaiday said.

"The boys enjoyed it and I'm sure we'll take it with us and use it as motivation."

Thaiday also thanked fans for their patience in waiting for signatures, given an estimated 5000 supporters turned up.

For winger Brent Tate it was a chance to return to his hometown and catch up with family members.

Tate, one of the standouts for Queensland in Origin I, said he felt "really proud" to be back home with the Maroons side.

"The town's been through a lot, so it's awesome," he said.

Two players not there to meet fans were prop Matt Scott and back-rower Ashley Harrison.

Scott has been in regional Queensland to visit his mother, who has throat cancer, and Harrison is following advice from team medicos to rest after having a cortisone injection to settle down a groin complaint.

A team spokesman said it was uncertain whether either player would train today at the team's base at Coolum.

Meanwhile, veteran front rower Petero Civoneciva said he expected to be targeted by his former Panthers teammate, Tim Grant, in Origin II.

Grant will be making his Origin debut.

"Tim's got tremendous leg speed for a big man," Civoniceva said.

"He can chew the yards up and the combination with (James) Tamou - they're going to be hard to contain.

"That's something we'll address through the week.

"It's going to be a great battle."

Civoniceva acknowledged new Penrith coach Ivan Cleary had a bit to do with Grant's rise to the representative ranks this year, but said it was also a tribute to the 24-year-old's work ethic.

"I'd say he's (Cleary) probably been a bit of difference for him," Civoniceva said.

"But Tim was always there working extra hard and playing to improve himself, so it's a great reward."

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