Myles winning fitness race for Origin III

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Myles winning fitness race for Origin III

Queensland prop Nate Myles appears ready to return to the Maroons lineup for next week’s State of Origin finale in Sydney.

Myles took part in the Maroons’ first official training session on Thursday at their Gold Coast camp as he bids to prove he’s fit for a 31st Origin appearance.

The veteran front-rower missed game two after injuring his knee during Manly’s NRL loss to Penrith last month.

He hasn’t played since but was selected by Queensland for the game three clash next Wednesday at ANZ Stadium.

Myles sat out the final drill of Thursday’s session with an ice pack on his knee but fellow prop Matt Scott was impressed by what he’d seen.

“He did most of it. Probably could have finished the session but I think it was just precautionary for that last little drill,” Scott said.

“They just pulled him out.

“He was running pretty freely, I wouldn’t say fast, but freely. He’s looking good. I think he’s pretty confident.”

The Maroons’ other injury concern, winger Dane Gagai, underwent another fitness test on his niggling quad strain.

Gagai left the session after completing his test but coach Kevin Walters has already declared the game two hat-trick hero is a certain starter next week.

Thursday’s session also marked the arrival of debutant Gavin Cooper to the camp.

The North Queensland backrower had stayed in Townsville for the arrival of his second child – Reggie – earlier in the week.

The 30-year-old said leaving his newborn son, wife and their two-year-old Archie to head into camp had been a moment of mixed emotions.

“It was a bit tough leaving the hospital before I came down here this morning,” Cooper said.

“We’ll get a day off this week and I think I might fly up and see them.”

Cooper’s call-up for injured Josh Papalii (knee, shoulder) had caught him by surprise.

After being named as an emerging Origin player last year and then coming into the game one squad as 18th man as cover for Cooper Cronk, Cooper said only now he was in camp was the realisation he will make his Queensland debut sinking in.

“I know it’s going to happen and now that we’re down here and I’ll have room to myself I’ll have time to think about it,” he said.

“Just very grateful to get that call … can’t wait for Wednesday.”

The Maroons will train again on Friday afternoon with 18th man Felise Kaufusi to join the squad as cover for Myles.

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