NSW enforcer Reagan Campbell-Gillard will be in the firing line in Wednesday night’s State of Origin opener after making inflammatory comments in the build-up.
Campbell-Gillard – the 115-kilogram Penrith man who has never played an Origin match before – lit a fuse when he said: “I can’t wait to get out there and start killing some people.”
Those comments ruffled feathers in the Queensland camp, with assistant coach Josh Hannay saying on Wednesday that “Reagan has to live with what he said”.
Asked if he expected fireworks at the MCG, Hannay added: “I think there could be.
“There has been some chat from south of the border and we certainly have some firebrands in our forward pack.
“I’d be surprised if there isn’t some physical contests out there that erupt.”
Hannay tipped Sydney Roosters front-rower Dylan Napa to stand up in the heat of the Origin battle.
“Dylan is a really intimidating, physical type of front-rower,” he said.
“He is a big body in the middle of the field and he loves these occasions. He loves the ferocity of Origin and it will bring the best out in him, I have no doubt about that.
“But he has to channel it in the right way and do the little things well tonight.
“Our forward pack always seems to be underrated, and they like that tag.
“They come into each Origin underrated and they will meet that challenge head on tonight.”
Much of Wednesday’s discussion has centred on Dane Gagai’s finger injury. The Queenslander is expected to play the Origin opener, thanks to painkilling injections.
Queensland has already lost star fullback Billy Slater to injury in the build-up to Origin I, a clash it enters also without retired trio Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk.
As a result, NSW starts the Melbourne fixture as short-priced favourite, despite fielding11 Origin debutants.
Origin airs on the Nine Network from 7pm AEST.