Nothing will prepare Queensland’s four rookies for their State of Origin debut, Cameron Smith admits.
But the Maroons captain says he will have a quiet word to settle them before Queensland looks to keep the series alive in Wednesday night’s Origin II in Sydney.
“I don’t think the amount of work that you can do on the field or even watching State of Origin can prepare you mentally for the game,” Smith said.
“You ask any debutant after they’ve played their first game and they say they couldn’t believe how fast it was, how physical it was and how much intensity it is played at for the entire match.
“You can see in the body language when they’re about to run out onto the field what they’re feeling.
“Most games that I play in I usually have a quick little chat before we run out just to make sure that everyone’s ready to go.
“I just want to make sure that their head space is right.”
Maroons selectors wielded the axe following Queensland’s record 28-4 game one loss in Brisbane, making seven changes – the biggest team shake up in 12 years.
Queensland now find themselves in the situation where they must blunt an unchanged, rampaging Blues pack with rookie Jarrod Wallace as starting prop and fellow debutant forwards Coen Hess and bolter Tim Glasby off the bench.
The Maroons starting front row has just one game’s experience after prop Dylan Napa made his debut in Origin I.
Smith said he backed them to make the step up for Queensland but would pull them aside ahead of Origin II just to ensure they were focused on the mighty task at hand.
“They’re all very good footballers in their own right,” he said.
“I just want to make sure that their mental preparation is right for the game.
“This is going to be the biggest game they’ve played in their entire career so there’s a lot of preparation that you need to do in your head to be ready for what’s coming.”