Coaches Coy on Origin I line-ups
Both Mal Meninga and Laurie Daly turned out at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday, the home of Origin II, as the build-up to State of Origin 2015 begins to intensify.
The Origin I line-ups are all but settled but neither coach is willing to give too much away just yet.
However Queensland coach Mal Meninga did reveal Darius Boyd is set to be named for the series opener, despite playing just his first game of the season last week for Brisbane.
It is a huge boost for Boyd who had returned prematurely from an Achilles injury and was enduring a public battle with depression last year against the Knights.
He will enter Origin I with just two first-grade games under his belt but his 80-minute performance last Friday night against the Panthers was enough to convince the man who matters most.
"I was very excited by it, I didn't expect it," Meninga said of Boyd's performance.
"He's obviously worked really hard to get back on the field, he loves the game and he's gone through a pretty horrid time with personal issues but he's handled it and matured.
"I am full of admiration for Darius, he's got one more game for the Broncos against the Cowboys on Friday, we hope he gets through it and he'll be picked for Queensland."
Meanwhile Laurie Daley did little to quell speculation surrounding the make-up of his halves combination, dodging any real answer when asked.
"I've always felt comfortable playing with a club combo but I'm not ruling out the possibility of splitting players and giving them the opportunity with different people. All options are on the table and I'll keep that to myself at this stage," Daley said with a cheeky smile.
"In my own mind I know who I want to run out there with and this weekend just gives me an opportunity just to make sure and confirm that is the right way to go."
He did reveal he would have a conversation with Paul Gallen on Friday that is likely to decide whether he will name the Blues skipper for the series opener.
Gallen has been sidelined for nearly a month with a hip injury and has barely completed light running duties.
Daley did take the chance to acknowledge the great opportunity afforded to the Origin sides when they take to the MCG on June 17.
Both Daley and Meninga played in the inaugural MCG Origin game in 1994 when 87,161 fans turned out.
With around 60,000 tickets already sold for Game Two this year that record looks to be in serious jeopardy.
"I think it is just great to come down here and get the chance to play at a fantastic venue that looks in great condition," Daley said.
"We know people down here in Melbourne love their sports, all sports, and they'll get behind Origin and come in great numbers to watch a great game of footy."
The Maroons are set to spend a full week in Melbourne in preparation and Meninga humorously suggested the Queenslanders would use that time to take in the finer things the southern state has to offer.
"We want to experience what Melbourne has to offer culturally," he said.
"We know we are rugby league people but we do have a bit of culture about us as well so we will try catch a movie and a bit of theatre. We love the fine dining and that type of stuff, so we have improved."
This article first appeared on NRL.com