Bug forces Oates into isolated training
QUEENSLAND has played down concerns for Corey Oates after illness hampered the winger at training at the Maroons' Gold Coast camp on Sunday.
Oates was largely restricted to light duties due to a stomach bug at Queensland's final full-training session before Wednesday night's series opener at Suncorp Stadium.
But the Maroons were confident the lanky flyer would recover in time for Origin I.
"He's got a stomach virus and just doesn't want to give it to anyone. I know he'll be right for Wednesday night," Maroons winger Dane Gagai said.
Gold Coast prop Jarrod Wallace was forced to run on the left wing for Oates after the Brisbane speedster was kept largely to solo skill drills.
"I think he woke up a bit sick this morning," Queensland forward Josh Papalii said.
"The doctor told him to just rest up a bit. He'll be right."
Papalii liked what he saw from the Maroons in their session before leaving for Brisbane on Sunday.
He said new faces Anthony Milford and Dylan Napa had slotted straight into the team.
Milford is in for Johnathan Thurston (shoulder) at five-eighth while Napa replaces Test prop Matt Scott (knee).
Origin I marks a changing of the guard of sorts for the Maroons with Thurston, Billy Slater (overlooked), Corey Parker (retired) and Greg Inglis (knee) also unavailable.
"With two new guys you have to keep things simple at training but we were looking pretty sharp," Papalii said.
Papalii said the signs were good from close mate Milford who will predictably be targeted by NSW in Origin I.
Canberra wrecking ball Papalii looked forward to providing Milford some assistance as the pint-sized pivot's bodyguard in defence.
"There's a bit of nerves there (from Milford) but everyone gets like that before Origin. He just wants to play," Papalii said of his former Canberra teammate.
"One of my jobs is to get to those big runners targeting Milford.
"We are pretty close friends. We've known each other for a long time.
"But that's not going to do it in Origin. We have to worry about the jersey we are wearing and realise we are doing a job for another 16 players too."