NSW will take on a Group 3 competition representative side in their final opposed session on Sunday before flying to Brisbane for State of Origin 1.
NSW will crank up their preparations for next Wednesday’s State of Origin opener when they take on a Group 3 representative side in an opposed training session in Coffs Harbour on Sunday.
The Group 3 first grade competition covers the north coast of NSW and runs from Port Macquarie to Forster and contains eight teams.
Players from those clubs will be make up a side that will play the role of Queensland in a training session against the likes of Jarryd Hayne, Paul Gallen and Robbie Farah.
“We’ve had a 100 per cent take up from our guys and they can’t wait to train with the Blues,” said Group 3 president Wayne Bridge.
“The NSW staff wanted a quality side instead of just a club side with some experience.
“It will be a great learning curve for our players, just watching world class players and how they tackle, how they position themselves.
“That can only benefit Group 3 in the future.”
The Blues have been put through their paces by their coaching staff this week in the relative solitude of the Pacific Bay resort in the northern NSW coastal town.
Unlike previous years the week in camp has been largely alcohol-free with training closed to the assembled media as coach Laurie Daley plots a way to end Queensland’s nine-year series dominance.
Back-rower Ryan Hoffman said the side have enjoyed being away from their traditional base in Coogee and said the team have been given the perfect platform to win the series opener at Suncorp Stadium.
“Coogee was great but it was a convenient place where you could meet up with your friends and that kind of stuff,” Hoffman said.
“Up here it’s just us and we’ve been enjoying each other’s company and there’s no distractions.
“When we’ve got on the paddock we’ve been focused but away from it we haven’t had to worry about other factors.
Hoffman’s sentiments were echoed by vice-captain Farah, who said there is a more professional feel to the camp than what he’s experienced in previous years.
“Here we have facilities that are exclusive to us,” Farah said.
“Coogee has been a good base for us but we have been using a cricket pitch to train on and a public gym and it hasn’t been our space.
“But this is and it’s been a massive advantage.”
The Blues will jet in to Brisbane on a chartered flight from Coffs Harbour immediately after their session where they will take up residence in a city centre hotel.
Parramatta centre Will Hopoate and Canterbury back-rower Josh Jackson have been called into the squad by Daley and will fly into Coffs Harbour on Saturday.
The pair have been in fine form for their clubs and the coach said he wanted to give them a taste of camp and also cover in case of any injuries.
“We wanted to bring in a forward and a back to cover all bases,” Daley said.
“Both players have been in terrific form for their clubs and deserve the opportunity to spend some time in camp.”