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Civoniceva back in Origin training

The familiar frame of Petero Civoniceva was back in Queensland's State of Origin preparations on the Sunshine Coast on Friday, as the Maroons stepped things up for Wednesday night's clash with NSW in Sydney.
Civoniceva back in Origin training
by AAP

By Wayne Heming

KAWANA, Qld, May 31 AAP - The familiar frame of Petero Civoniceva was back in Queensland's State of Origin preparations on the Sunshine Coast on Friday, as the Maroons stepped things up for Wednesday night's clash with NSW in Sydney.

Normally wearing a Queensland jumper, the veteran of a record 33 Origins for a forward, turned out for his Queensland Cup side Redcliffe in an opposed training run against Mal Meninga's squad at Stockland Stadium.

The purpose of the session was to allow the Queenslanders to rehearse plays they plan to throw at NSW on Wednesday night.

"We just want to help the guys in their preparation so we will try and replicate what NSW do on the night," Civoniceva said.

"It's probably the most important session the (Queensland) players will take part in against the defence and it's about getting your timing right. In terms of cohesion, it is very important.

"There'll be things that Mal will ask us to do that NSW might do on Wednesday night. It will be a short, sharp session to give the guys confidence for Origin I."

Asked who he'd be in the drill, the 116kg Civoniceva quipped Blues' halfback Mitchell Pearce.

On a more serious note, Civoniceva said Canberra prop Dave Shillington - one of the few players who can match his body size - would do the job in game one.

"He's proven. He's been there and done that before," he said.

"The rotation off the bench, we have some great energy and power there to make a difference, especially around the ruck for Johnathan Thurston."

Civoniceva, who retired from representative football after Queensland farewelled him with a seventh-straight series win last year, said the fact he was still playing made it easier to cope at Origin time.

"I'm sure come kick-off time on Wednesday night it will be hard to watch at first, but I'll love watching it with my kids," he said.

Queensland winger Darius Boyd didn't take part in the opposed session, with Meninga likely to wait until the team heads to Sydney before making a decision on whether he plays.

Given the progress he's made in the 72 hours since entering camp on Wednesday, he is likely to get the green light from Meninga.




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