Afternoon Origin news

NSW centre Mark Gasnier says a decision on whether he will play in next week's opening State Of Origin match will be made within the next 24-hours.

Gasnier has been struggling with a hip problem suffered while playing for St George Illawarra 10 days ago. Gasnier says the hip feels better after training away from the rest of his NSW team-mates this morning. He says a decision will be made tomorrow morning as to whether he will play in order to give his replacement, Penrith's Luke Lewis, as much time as possible to prepare for the match.

Earlier today, Gasnier's Dragons team-mate Matt Cooper was ruled out of the Blues' squad with a hamstring injury. He has been replaced by Parramatta winger Eric Grothe.

Meanwhile, hundreds of fans have turned out in the Queensland coastal town of Maryborough to watch the State of Origin side train in a meet-the-fans day. The players broke from their Sunshine Coast camp at Coolum today for a change of venue and the fans turned out in force for their heroes autographs.

It is all part of coach Mal Meninga's strategy to put some passion back in the Maroons before next Wednesday's State of Origin opener in Sydney. Meninga has seven rookies in his squad and has done everything possible in the build up to expose them to the hype and emotion of Origin fever.

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