Origin combatants wary of Telstra Dome - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Origin combatants wary of Telstra Dome

By Wayne Heming and Steve Jancetic 03/07/2006 08:06:09 PM Comments (0)

Queensland skipper Darren Lockyer will contact Wallaby winger Lote Tuqiri for some inside information as both State of Origin combatants attempt to come to grips with the alien conditions of the Telstra Dome.

Both the NSW and Queensland sides will stage their final training runs ahead of Wednesday night's series decider at the match venue with concerns over the surface and the impact of the closed roof of paramount concern.

Lockyer will consult his former Brisbane Broncos teammate Tuqiri, who has played at Telstra Dome on a number occasions with both the Wallabies and the Australian Sevens side at this year's Commonwealth Games, on what boots to wear on the slick turf.

The Queensland camp is understood to have already sounded out some Brisbane Lions players about the type of surface they can expect to encounter when they play under the closed roof for the first time.

"I'll try and give Lote a call and get his thoughts on the surface," said Lockyer.

"It's hard to make a decision until you actually have look at it and get a feel of it.

"They reckon the surface is different when the roof is closed as well.

"Sometimes it can be hard to make the right decision about what boots to wear.

"I'd like to have a look at (a tape of) the Wallabies game and see how they went and give Lote a call for his thoughts on what footwear is best.

"I haven't worn long studs in four or five years but I've got both pairs just in case."

The Blues requested the roof be closed for their training session but Telstra Dome officials said they would only be accommodated if conditions were inclement.

Dome officials are loath to have the grass miss out on any sunshine, meaning that unless there is rain or heavy cloud cover only the latter part of NSW's 4:30pm run will be under the closed roof.

The Queensland side's session is two hours earlier at 2:30pm.

Collingwood AFL coach Mick Malthouse said he didn't think the surface would pose too many problems for the players but he did reveal another intricacy of playing under the closed roof.

Malthouse said some of his players had complained about not being able to hear the calls out on the ground with the noise of the crowd echoing under the roof.

"The (players) said `we just could not hear the instructions coming from our teammates'," Malthouse recalled.

"This stadium this week will be absolutely packed out, the roof will be on it and with the roar from the crowd ... that noise factor can actually upset the rhythm of a side."

NSW halfback Craig Gower, who will be the man calling most of the shots for the Blues on Wednesday night, said the players would have to rely much more on hand directions rather than verbal calls.

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