Queensland veteran Darius Boyd has thrown his support behind team hierarchy to banish the “Valley eight”, saying ill discipline had become too common amongst the Emerging Maroons.
Brisbane playmakers Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford, Sydney Roosters enforcer Dylan Napa, Cronulla livewire Valentine Holmes and Melbourne boom youngster Cameron Munster were among eight players reprimanded after breaking curfew during last week’s Queensland Emerging Origin camp in Brisbane.
The players disobeyed a direct order from coach Kevin Walters when they went out partying in Fortitude Valley and have been blacklisted from this year’s Origin team.
Two years ago, Newcastle centre Dane Gagai copped a similar ban after missing a training session.
Walters consulted senior Maroons before handing down his punishment and Boyd, speaking at the NRL Auckland Nines, backed his coach’s decision to draw a line in the sand.
“It seems to be a regular occurrence, everybody seems to stuff up at those camps,” Boyd said.
“They will learn from their mistakes, everyone does some stupid things when they are young.”
Several of the banned youngsters, including Napa, Milford and Hunt were chances to make their Origin debuts should injuries strike the squad.
“Whether you are close or not, it’s a kick in the face,” Boyd said.
“It’s a reality check for the boys. The Queensland side is only getting older, so we are going to need some of those younger guys to step up and take our spots. Hopefully they learn from this.”
Cowboys five-eighth and Maroons utility Michael Morgan said he was confident the punishment would stick and the players involved wouldn’t find themselves in trouble again.
“It’s definitely a lesson learnt. They’re all young guys still and I think they’ll all learn from their actions,” Morgan said.
“They’re all disappointed in themselves, they know they’ve done the wrong thing and they’ve got to all live it and I’m sure you won’t see them do it again.”