Queensland captain Cameron Smith says the reigning eight-time State of Origin champions have not yet reached their full potential.
Eight straight State of Origin series wins sounds impressive but just wait until Queensland hits top gear.
In a frightening thought NSW fans, Maroons skipper Cameron Smith says his side are yet to fulfil their potential.
“We haven’t really been happy with the way we have played in the last couple of series,” said Smith as Queensland prepare to seek sixth straight Suncorp Stadium win in Origin I on Wednesday night.
“We have played well enough when we have had to.
“But I still feel we have not played as well as we can as a team.
“That’s the challenge that we have given ourselves – to play the very best we can.”
Asked how he motivated his side and avoided complacency, Smith said: “I am fairly lucky.
“I don’t have to really motivate this group.
“They are driven individually to perform well and win this first match.
“We don’t sit down at this camp and say ‘boys let’s make it nine in a row’.
“We talk about what we need to do during the week and perform well in game one.”
It’s a simple approach that was fully embraced at their low-key Gold Coast training camp this year.
At NSW’s Coffs Harbour camp, leading sport scientist Dr Craig Duncan and a team of interns oversaw daily testing of each Blues player to ensure they were at peak fitness.
Queensland seemed to spend more time on the Sanctuary Cove resort’s golf course than the training paddock during the week-long camp.
A couple of opposed sessions with Queensland Cup teams sprinkled with “intense” training spurts was all that the Maroons needed, Smith insisted.
“(Coach) Mal (Meninga)’s approach has been when we are training we get the most out of it, train with a lot of intensity, but with a fair bit of down time,” he said.
“We’ve come into games where we have tried to over-prepare at times.
“And that has probably been a hindrance more than helping us leading into matches.
“The feedback from previous years has been the boys like the high intensity training but a bit more rest so we feel ready to go.”
Smith said veteran centre Justin Hodges (ankle) had emerged from Sunday night’s session against Brisbane Norths side unscathed and expected to play.
“It was good to have Justin with us. It was the first full session he has had with us for the entire camp,” he said.
“He should be right. Then again he has had his feet up for the last five days so he should be right.
“But Justin knows his body…and he knows when he is right to go – he’ll be right on Wednesday.”