To sport now, and Cooper Cronk has been cleared to take on the Blues, in tonight’s State of Origin opener. The halfback completed yesterday’s captains run without a hiccup. He’ll be a key cog, in Queensland’s quest for the 20-16 shield.

Bryce Heaton reports.


Cronk was to be given right up until kick-off to prove his fitness, but a successful test run means there is no doubt that the Storm halfback will take to the field tonight.

It’s a relief for Queensland, who last year won off Cronk’s boot in Sydney, his field goal the difference in Game 1.

Cronk’s selection will be no surprise to the Blues, who accused the Maroons of playing mind games.

Kevin Walters, Maroons Coach: “I grew up in Ipswich and we don’t know what smoke and mirrors are so we’re as honest as the day is long.”

It’s been alleged the Blues yesterday left game plan notes in a change room used by the Maroons.

Perhaps playing some games of their own?

This will be Paul Gallen’s last Origin series.

He knows, tonight will be a bruising encounter.

Paul Gallen, Blues Captain: “There’ll be fireworks. Fingers crossed no matter what the weather is we can pack this place out.”

The Blues will run out with five rookies after last year’s 52-6 thrashing in Game 3.

James Maloney returns and will pair debutant Adam Reynolds in the halves, the Blues fourth scrumbase combination in as many years.

The Maroons add two first-gamers in Corey Oates and Justin O’Neill, among ten players picked from the Broncos and Cowboys.

Cameron Smith will overtake Darren Lockyer’s games record in his 37th Origin, and millions will be hoping he can mark the occasion with a win.

Bryce Heaton, QUT News.