IN GOOD SHAPE: Johnathan Thurston and Maroons teammate Chris McQueen head back to shore at Yaroomba yesterday.
IN GOOD SHAPE: Johnathan Thurston and Maroons teammate Chris McQueen head back to shore at Yaroomba yesterday. Brett Wortman

QLD dives into Origin prep

THE Queensland Maroons braved the cold to take a quick dip in the chilly waters off Marcoola Beach yesterday.

Playmaker Johnathon Thurston was spritely as he jumped about the shallows splashing much to the disdain of his team-mates.

The cold proved too much for superstar Greg Inglis who opted to stay in his tracksuit and watch from the dunes.

The rugby league side is based at Palmer Coolum Resort before heading to Sydney on Sunday. Queensland faces New South Wales in the decider on Wednesday night as they chase an eighth-straight series win.

Queensland playmaker Cooper Cronk believes his team has the mental edge to beat New South Wales in Wednesday's State of Origin series decider.

Cronk, who kicked the winning field goal in the 76th minute of last year's decider, said Queensland's proven ability to produce when it counted most would get his team home if the game hung in the balance.

"I think it's going to come down to the back end of the game and who's ready to stand up and be mentally tough," he said.

"I know this team can hold on, because New South Wales scored most of their points in the first 15 minutes of game one and didn't score too much after that.

"We were coming at the back end of game one, so we know that if the game's on the line in the last 20 minutes we're going to have a fair amount of energy left, because that's the Queensland spirit and we'll draw on that.

"I think it's going to be a fiercely fought battle and it will come down to moments, and when that moment arises the Queensland team needs to be in the picture ready to pounce, because New South Wales have been unbelievably competitive for most of the year and I don't think its going to be a lopsided affair, unfortunately."

Statistics indicate the Cockroaches will be hard to beat in Sydney, with Queensland failing to win there since claiming a clean sweep in 2010.

Exuding a confidence that comes from having success at every level of rugby league, Cronk said the Maroons would do whatever it took to record a record eighth straight series win.

"There are not too many occasions that arise on a football field that I'm not prepared for and this team's not prepared for," he said.

"We'll do everything we need to do to be in the best possible position next Wednesday night and if that includes practising a few different things, well, we'll have to do that."

OVER THE YEARS

State of Origin began in 1980

The three-game series format was introduced in 1982

Of the 31 full series played to 2012, Queensland has won 17 and New South Wales 12, with two series drawn


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