Cronk backs Gagai for Origin II

Queensland remain confident injury concern Dane Gagai will prove his fitness ahead of next week’s second State of Origin clash despite the winger leaving training early on Thursday.

Gagai took part in light duties only as he continues to manage a quad strain, with North Queensland flyer Kyle Feldt have a run with the Maroons in his place.

Gagai is the latest injury concern after the Maroons’ build-up to game one was dominated by halfback Cooper Cronk’s fitness battle.

Cronk somehow overcame a rolled ankle in five days to play a leading hand in Queensland’s 6-4 win in Sydney.

“I think he is in a better situation than I was,” Cronk said of Gagai.

“He has been managing his injury for the last couple of weeks and we have excellent medical staff here.”

Cronk is seen as a medical miracle-worker after also coming back early for Queensland from a knee injury last year and a broken arm in 2014.

But he reckoned there weren’t too many tips he could pass onto Gagai.

“If he needs advice I am not sure what to say – maybe stick your leg up and ice it as long as you can,” Cronk laughed.

“But he will be right.

“No one in this football team is going to put their hand up to play if they are not capable of doing their job for the whole 80 minutes.”

NSW accused Queensland of mind games when they heard Cronk was battling an ankle complaint ahead of game one.

But Cronk said the injury scare was very real.

“There was no smoke and mirrors. I was gone,” he said.

“On Monday (two days before game one) the footy gods looked after me … and the swelling came out of the joint so it was off I go.”

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