Injured Smith growing in confidence - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Injured Smith growing in confidence

By Wayne Heming 20/05/2010 07:51:29 PM Comments (0)

He's yet to throw a pass in camp but injured hooker Cameron Smith is growing in confidence he'll play in Wednesday's State of Origin opener in Sydney.

The Melbourne Storm star, under intensive physio on his injured right elbow in the hope of playing his 20th successive Origin, was slightly more confident on Thursday he was winning his battle.

In the meantime, Manly rake Matt Ballin has been training with the side as if he's going to make his Origin debut - and he still might.

Smith, who dislocated his elbow in the Anzac Test against the Kiwis earlier this month, will have to do some contact training at the weekend to have any chance of keeping his unbeaten Origin streak alive.

"It's coming along slowly but there's still a way to go yet," said Smith On Thursday.

"I think I'm a better chance than I thought I was at the start of the camp (on Tuesday).

"We've got just under a week until the first match so it's still touch and go but I think things are on my side at the moment."

Queensland captain Darren Lockyer conceded losing his vice captain, a key contributor to a record quartet of series wins, would be a late hit for the side.

Bookmakers have Queensland odds-on to win a fifth straight series despite the fact NSW have two home games but those odds would change if Smith doesn't take the field.

"Cam's very important to us, he's been there for pretty much all the success Queensland has had over the last four series," said Lockyer.

"He's been there for pretty much all the success we have had over the last four series.

"He does the little things really well, he's a good talker with forwards, he creates a lot of things around the ruck and he's got a good kicking game.

"We'll miss that if he's not there but Matty Ballin has been in camp from day one and he will get familiar with our plays."

Meanwhile Test prop Dave Shillington has put his hand up to take on NSW firebrand Brett White who laid out Steve Price in a violent climax to the third game last year.

"Brett White is not held in too high a regard by the Queensland boys," said Shillington after coach Mal Meninga made his players watch a video of the game in camp this week.

"We're both coming off the bench but there's a good chance we'll meet in the middle at some stage of the clash."

Shillington, who was involved in the game three brawl, said seeing Price go down the way he did was not a good look for Queensland.

"Nobody wants to see that happen to a team mate," he said.

"I'm sure NSW will stick to the plan they used last year and we've spoken about it.

"We'll try and stick together better on the field this time.

"Obviously the Blues got over us that time, but we won't let it happen again."

Shillington said the players would band together to look after Lockyer if he was excessively targeted.

"If they try and target him we've got plenty of great players around to help him out," he said.

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