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Kiwi To Beef Up Queensland
Queensland and Kiwi centre Tonie Carroll has made it his top priority to use his brutal defence to smash New South Wales out of Wednesday night's all important second State of Origin match at Telstra Stadium.
Carroll, one of the game's most brutal defenders, has pledged to not "leave the game wondering" by crushing anything that comes his way in a Blue jersey. Carroll is back at centre after playing Origin I at lock.
His centre partner Brent Tate said yesterday his Broncos team-mate was there to "put a bit of fear into the NSW backline attack".
When he was asked whether his job on Wednesday night was to physically intimidate the NSW backs, Carroll was to the point.
"That's right. Hopefully that will be my role, and hopefully it comes off," he said.
"If we go down there not prepared to put our bodies on the line, then we will get rolled, and there goes the series.
"We have to be on our game, and be prepared to make the (physical) sacrifice.
"I don't like leaving the game wondering.
"If the hit is on, I'm more than happy enough to put my hand up to do it."
The Maroons took a more relaxed morning at training yesterday, with their scheduled field sessions cancelled in favour of a weights work-out in the gym, before a (possibly more draining) afternoon of sponsorship commitments.
Winger Shannon Hegarty (flu) missed the gym sessions but there is no doubt about his fitness for Wednesday night.
Fullback Darren Lockyer also showed no signs of being troubled by the ankle injury that forced him from the training field early on Friday. It did not require strapping for the gym session.
The atmosphere in the Queensland camp was distinctly lighter than early in the week ? possibly due in part to the arrival of tennis champion Pat Rafter, who mingled with the players and staff.
Several players, led by captain Gorden Tallis, snuck away during the session to try out the gymnastics training pit ? launching themselves off a trampoline into soft rubber foam blocks.
"We are happy with everything at the moment," Carroll said.
"Three days out, we couldn't be in a better position."
Carroll reiterated his desire for Australian selection in next month's Test against New Zealand ? The 27-year-old elected to play for the Kiwis in the World Cup. But by not playing for New Zealand since, he remained eligible to re-start his Origin career on his return to the Broncos, and push his claim for an Australian Test debut. "I wouldn't be here otherwise," Carroll said.
"All going well, I hope my name gets thrown up.
"It was very tough (to turn the Kiwis down) because they were a great bunch of blokes, and a great team. I will have to cross that bridge later. I am just concentrating on Wednesday night."