Queensland State Of Origin coach Billy Slater has wasted no time in getting his Maroons squad prepared for the greatest sporting battle in modern Australian history, as the team heads south for their traditional camp at Sanctuary Cove.

Aside from the game strategies and team dinners, the Maroons camp is known for both the gruelling and eccentric exercises that the Queenslanders are forced to endure

This year’s squad, which still carries the DNA of the famous 8-in-a-row winning streak (2006-2013) with both coach Slater and current captain Daly Cherry-Evans, is once again the strongest team on paper.

However aside from all the familiar faces of yesteryear – including an auxiliary training staff made up of Slater’s former Origin teammates like Johnathan Thurston and Nate Miles – the legacy of Queensland’s famous ‘decade of domination’ also lives on the camp rituals.

With the squad looking primed and physically ready for war at their first 2024 training run in Brisbane on Tuesday, Slater will now focus on the cultural and psychological fitness of his players.

This means an array of bizarre tasks and drills that are aimed at driving home state pride.

Throughout the weak the squad’s forwards have been ordered to drink nothing but molasses-infused milk with every meal. The 18th man, Felise Kaufusi, has been put in charge of a bluetooth speaker that is only allowed to play Powderfinger, The Go-Betweens or the hyped up hip hop of Forest Lake rapper Nokz.

Maranoa beef will be served with breakfast, lunch and dinner – and captain DCE must give thanks to Artie Beetson and Wally Lewis before every meal can begin.

However, as has been tradition for nearly 40 years – it’s the first meal of the every Origin camp that is the most memorable.

The first order of business today was for the entire squad to eat the entire contents of truckload of Bowen Mangos.

The truck, which was driven 12 hours from the North Queensland to the Maroons camp by a couple of Slater’s old fruit farmer mates from back home, weighed roughly one tonne (1000 kilograms).

Slater says this exercise in Queensland pride will help teach the players valuable lessons about hard work, wastage, and patience.

At the the 650 kilogram mark, the first player to go down was Sarina boy Reuben Cotter – a man not unfamiliar with the fruits of the deep North.

“Please Billy.” said Cotter, between spews.

“The sugar’s gunna give me tap arse. It’ll be coming out of both ends soon”

Slater remains firm, as Mal Meninga had done to him, and as Artie Beetson had done to Mal.

“No” says Slater.

“You might be down, but someone’s gonna come through and cover you here”

“Carrigan. Take that mango off Cotter and finish it. He’ll be doing the same for you in a few minutes”

“This is Origin gentlemen”



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