Maroons veterans to play on: Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maroons veterans to play on: Smith

By Wayne Heming 05/07/2010 04:56:45 PM Comments (0)

NSW are in for a shock if they think Wednesday night will be the last they see of longtime tormentors Darren Lockyer and Petero Civoniceva in State of Origin.

That was the message from Queensland hooker Cameron Smith on Monday, declaring the history-making Maroons would be back to do it all again next year, with captain Lockyer and forward leader Civoniceva.

Battered by five straight series losses, the Blues would be hoping Wednesday night's dead-rubber clash at ANZ Stadium is the end of the Origin road for the two veterans.

But Smith, who will be playing his 21st Origin game, is expecting both to return in 2011.

"We'll more than likely have the same team again next year," said Smith.

"I was speaking to Pet (Civoniceva) and I know he wants to go around again.

"Locky is not saying anything to anyone, so we're not sure, but the way he's playing why not go around again?"

Smith warned NSW's four rookies - especially starting props Jason King and Kade Snowden - would be tested on Wednesday night.

"The pressure of NRL and Origin are "miles apart"," noted Smith.

"They're totally different and some of those (rookies) haven't experienced that yet, so we'll need to make sure we build some pressure and see how they handle it."

Smith also backed calls for an Origin game to be moved around the country following the disappointing response to the third game in Sydney with officials struggling to sell tickets.

Asked if the lack of fan support for the Blues in Sydney was hurting the game, the Melbourne Storm skipper said "I think it is".

"It's really disappointing they (Sydney) can't get a sold out Origin," he said.

"I've played in a couple of big matches down there (Sydney) and we've had disappointing crowds."

"I played the Tri Nations final in 06 which a lot of people said was one of the best Test matches they've seen - going into golden point at the SFS and we had just over 20,000 people for a Test match."

"If you played that in Brisbane it would be sold out."

Smith said with everything that has happened to his salary cap scandal-hit Storm club in Melbourne it would be a perfect time to put on a big game there.

"I think you'd sell it out easily," he said.

"Given what's happened to our club this year it would be a good opportunity to take another game down there, especially a showcase game like Origin."

It's been suggested that with Sydney continually failing to post big crowd numbers, an Origin game should be played in Melbourne, Perth or even Auckland to help expand rugby league's appeal.

"I think you'd get good crowds in New Zealand but I'm not so sure how many you'd get in Perth," said Smith.

"There's great support over there in the west but if you were playing an Origin you want at least 50,000 fans at a game."

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