Even from Afar, Cameron Munster is still putting his stamp on the Maroons’ preparations for the State of Origin decider.
The Storm five-eighth has been isolated in a hotel room, but Rabbitohs forward Jai Arrow said that Munster hasn’t gone quietly into the night.
“He’s been sending us daily videos that he calls ‘Munster Madness’ – so he’s obviously in as good of spirits as he can be,” Arrow told Wide World of Sports.
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“He’s a great character to have around the group.”
Both Munster and winger Murray Taulagi tested positive to COVID-19 last week, ruling them out of Wednesday’s game – Corey Oates and Tom Dearden were called up in their place.
“He’s got his Queensland jersey and hat on in the room, just sending selfie videos of him screaming ‘QUEENSLANDER!’ and giving us daily updates on whatever he’s up to.”
The squad are taking two RATs daily, one when they wake up and one before dinner – and while they aren’t in a ‘bubble’ per se, they’ve been told to remain cautious.
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“It’s obviously something that we just have to put up with,” Arrow said.
“But we’re very grateful that we get to play in an Origin decider tomorrow night, so it’s not too hard.”
When Munster and Taulagi were ruled out, the initial shock gave way to wider concerns that the entire squad could be affected.
“It sort of rattles everyone,” Arrow said.
“It’s not a nice thing to have those two pull out and the first thought in camp was if anyone else had COVID, but thankfully not.”
Arrow was left out of the team for game one before returning for the loss in Perth.
“I just need to play my normal game which is being aggressive, taking tough carries and being in their face in defense,” he said.
Queensland’s forward pack were on the back foot for the majority of the match in Perth, with Arrow keen to make amends, conceding the battle “got away from them”.
“That’s the majority of football games – it’s won in the middle of the field, and that will be our mindset going into this game,” he said.
“When the big boys in the middle are doing our jobs and the pretty boys on the outside are icing things, it makes the team look good.”
The 27-year-old was one of nine Maroons who’ll feature in the decider having played in the last Suncorp decider back in 2020 – along with Valentine Holmes, Dane Gagai, Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh Papalii, Kurt Capewell, Tino Fa Asuamaleaui, Harry Grant and Lindsay Collins.
“We’ve spoken about it here and there, just what it was like – we want to go in full of confidence and I guess that’s what it does. We’ve got a few boys from that 2020 series still and it’s always an exciting time to play Origin, let alone a decider at Suncorp,” Arrow said.
“We’re going to have the whole of Queensland behind us and 52,000 fans there – and it’s just about enjoying the occasion.”
The COVID-19 scare that went through the Maroons camp was yet another reminder of how important player health is to the outcome of big games such as Origin deciders.
Arrow said he always has his health top of mind, especially when he comes to what he’s putting in his body. He revealed what a usual day on a plate looks like for him during the season.
“I have a bit of a go-to breakfast, which is smashed avo on toast with cut tomato and balsamic vinegar sauce,” Arrow said.
“For lunch, whatever the club provides.
“And then I have a snack when I get home, which is usually a My Muscle Chef Meal, usually two meals and then more of the same for dinner if I’ve had a big day and I just want to zone out.”
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