Queensland are doing their best to stick with their State of Origin III preparations amid allegations of assault against winger Will Chambers.
Queensland say it’s business as usual but NSW enforcer Greg Bird believes the assault complaint against Will Chambers must have an effect on the Maroons’ State of Origin preparations.
Chambers’ build-up to his Origin debut in Wednesday’s series finale in Brisbane is under a cloud after a patron at a Brisbane nightclub accused the 26-year-old of pushing him to the ground in a scuffle.
Tristan Furniss, 24, has lodged a formal complaint with police over the alleged incident, which happened at approximately 3am on Wednesday at the Down Under Bar in Brisbane’s CBD.
No charges have been laid as police continue their investigations.
The Queensland Rugby League and the NRL’s integrity unit are also investigating what happened.
Coach Mal Meninga also find himself under the microscope, with calls increasing for him to drop Chambers following his comments in relation to then NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce before Origin I.
Pearce was overlooked by Blues coach Laurie Daley after being arrested during a night out in Sydney’s Kings Cross, prompting Meninga to criticise the Sydney Roosters star and claim Queensland had a superior culture to the Blues.
Blues star Bird agreed Meninga probably had egg on his face in light of the Chambers situation.
The NSW back-rower said the arrest of Blake Ferguson last year before game two in Brisbane for indecent assault made it difficult for the team to prepare and said Queensland would experience a similar problem this week.
“I know our situation last year going into game two without Fergo, it did create quite a distraction to start the camp,” he said.
“You don’t want to talk about it or dwell on it, you just want to focus on football. You don’t need these dramas.”
On Thursday, the Maroons tried their best to continue their preparations as normal with Chambers joining his teammates for an hour-long training session at their Gold Coast camp in the afternoon.
The Melbourne Storm back appeared relaxed, joking around with senior members of the squad such as Sam Thaiday and Justin Hodges throughout the session.
Teammate Nate Myles says the squad hasn’t even discussed the allegations but admitted the situation is the last thing Chambers himself needed ahead of his Origin debut.
“I’ll throw it out there – it’s just going to be another test for the man,” Myles said.
“If it wasn’t enough for him getting ready for his first game, now it’s a test of getting ready with another thing out there.
“Will’s a great bloke and his footy’s been doing enough to get him in the side. I know he’s going to be alright. He’s just got to come out here, train hard and play better on the night.”