IT'S the story that captivated Australia all weekend, and now it may have found its way into rugby league's bloodline.
Convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has returned home after spending nearly 13 years in Bali, serving a prison sentence after being caught arriving in Indonesia with 4kg of marijuana in her body board bag. The media was desperate to follow her journey from the moment she was free to the time she touched down on home soil, but that proved more difficult than expected.
She escaped approximately 40 members of the media who had booked to fly on the same plane as her from Bali to Brisbane, but she gave them the slip after switching flights at the last minute. There were also decoy vans that left Brisbane airport upon her return, nobody entirely sure what vehicle she was in or where she was headed.
When she failed to be sighted at her family home, rumours emerged she was booked into Brisbane's Sofitel Hotel. This is where the NSW Origin side comes in.
While the rumour of her staying at the hotel is unconfirmed, if true, it may throw the Blues' preparations into turmoil as they are scheduled to stay at the same venue.
You only need to take a glimpse at the intense media scrutiny surrounding Corby's return to know the Blues would be bombarded with cameras and reporters galore should the parties end up at the Sofitel at the same time.
According to The Daily Telegraph, half of Corby's entourage stopped at the Sofitel on Saturday night, prompting NSWRL chief executive David Trodden to contact the hotel. The Telegraph reports staff would not confirm Corby would be staying there when the Blues were in town.
"I have made my own inquiries about the issue and, on the basis of those inquiries, I don't have any concerns about any distractions," Trodden said.
The Blues aren't expected to arrive in Queensland until Tuesday - the day before Game 1 - which is much later than previous years. Had they arrived on the weekend as they have in the past, they would have felt the full force of the media circus surrounding Corby's return in Brisbane.
Fox Sports NRL reporter James Hooper joked the possibility of Corby staying at the Sofitel with NSW was part of a Queensland conspiracy to derail the Blues' preparations.
"She's booked into about half a dozen hotels in Brisbane," Hooper said on the Triple M Grill Team. "I know from a Blues point of view they're hoping she's not in there.
"If she is there's a little bit of a theory kicking around Kingscliff camp that this is actually a Queensland conspiracy and the Maroons have deliberately got Schapelle to book into that hotel to try and create a little bit of carnage."
Matty Johns also joined in on the fun, joking about potential romantic encounters between Corby and the NSW players.
"NSW in the same hotel, the Sofitel, as Schapelle Corby. Could there be a blossoming romance there somewhere? Schapelle Trbojevic?" Johns joked.
"Only in rugby league can you come up with these great storylines."
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