Gagai gives himself the green light to play
GAME I hero Dane Gagai has declared himself ready to rip into his third Origin appearance for Queensland against New South Wales at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday after giving his strained quad a serious test over the weekend.
The Newcastle speedster entered camp on Tuesday in considerable pain and uncertain of being able to take his place on the left wing.
But after five days of intensive treatment, including the use of an ice machine, he was able to run at near top-pace during an opposed training session at Sanctuary Cove in front of an enthusiastic crowd of onlookers as coach Kevin Walters ran some rehearsed plays.
"I didn't hit top speed but I got up to a decent speed and it didn't cross my mind at all," said Gagai confirming his decision to play after North Queensland's Kyle Feldt had trained in his wing spot all week.
"All the pain and soreness is gone, but I'll keep getting treatment until game day now and it would 100 per cent."
"I wasn't just going to go out to play for Queensland if it didn't feel right.
"I wouldn't do that to the boys and I wouldn't let my state down."
Training had its lighter side when players arrived at their makeshift football field at the Sanctuary Cove only to find it had been taken over by kangaroos which are part of the resort's wildlife.
In the end, team manager Steve Walters had to jump in a golf buggy and round them up so the players could train.
"There was a young kid in the crowd with a boomerang and I wish I had known that earlier," joked Queensland forward Sam Thaiday.
"It was great to see so many people out there watching us today."
Queensland has had to make some adjustments with Dylan Walker replacing injured centre Josh Morris.
Walker only played nine minutes in his Origin debut in Sydney but had a terrific game at the weekend for Manly and is much more dangerous as a ball runner, than a ball player.
- WAYNE HEMING