I was asked to write about preparing for Origin. Well, I’ll fill you in on my Origin preparation before Origin 1 back in 2006.
Originally not being picked in the side (which I know is extremely hard to believe since I was playing for the Roosters), we beat our old rivals South Sydney on a Sunday afternoon. We then proceeded straight into a typical Ricky Stuart recovery session with an esky full of Crown Largers.
This form of recovery took place over the next 2 days with the odd training session in between.
It was late Tuesday night while at a pub in Paddington I get the call that Craig Gower has been injured at the final Origin training session and Trent Barrett, Brett Kimmorley and Matt Orford are all out injured. Andrew Johns wasn’t coming out of retirement so I was told I’m the man for the Blues. Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel.
I roll in close to midnight the night before smelling like a brewery, the coaching staff seemed a little concerned but considering Peter Sterling was the next available NSW halfback and he was 55, they were stuck with me.
The next morning we went for walk through at Parramatta Stadium. Rocking up in my converse all stars the boys could only shake their head. Even more so when I told them I forgot to pack my boots. Seriously, who forgets to pack their f**king footy boots when packing their bag for a game of footy, let alone an Origin match.
With the head still a little cloudy I struggled to catch a ball throughout the entire training session and slipped over a dozen times. I could only blame it on my converse’s having sh*thouse grip underfoot. To say the other 16 players and dozen staff members were worried that their Origin was in serious doubt would be an understatement. What could possibly go wrong?
The match comes around that night and I played one of the greatest games of my career in front of 85,000 people. The field goal and all I was the f**king man!
Fast forward to Game II and I thought I’d stay off the piss for the two weeks leading up to camp and prepare like the greatest professional you have ever seen. I come out and play absolutely sh*thouse and never get picked for Origin ever again. Queensland then go on to win 10 years straight.
I should of stuck to my game 1 preparation.