The intense North Queensland-Brisbane NRL rivalry has given the Maroons the edge over NSW in the 2016 State of Origin series, Sam Thaiday says.
Queensland are expected to include 10 players from both Brisbane and the Cowboys when they name their squad on Tuesday night for the June 1 series opener.
And that’s music to the ears of Thaiday.
One of six Broncos expected to feature in the Maroons 17, Thaiday said Brisbane and Cowboys players would arrive in camp ready for Origin after yet another absorbing derby.
The Cowboys sealed a thrilling 19-18 NRL win over Brisbane in last Friday night’s grand final re-match.
It marked the third straight derby decided by one point.
“It almost seems to be a State of Origin intensity every time we play the Cowboys,” Thaiday told Broncos TV.
“So that has done us a huge favour leading into Origin.”
Thaiday is expected to join Brisbane teammates Corey Oates, Corey Parker, Matt Gillett, Darius Boyd and Josh McGuire in the Queensland camp ahead of game one.
Towering winger Oates is expected to be named to make his Origin debut.
Thaiday – a veteran of 25 games for Queensland – admitted Origin was another step up.
However, he believed the likes of Oates would be able to handle it thanks to their tussles with North Queensland.
“It goes up next level (for Origin) but it will be the same intensity (as their NRL derby),” Thaiday said.
Backrower Thaiday had an ideal pre-Origin hit-out, playing every minute of the rollercoaster derby in Townsville.
“It’s the first time I have played 80 minutes this year so I am happy with that effort,” he said.
“It is always tough playing them.
“To lose by one point is a bit heartbreaking, but I am sure at some point towards the end of the year we will get the chance to play them again (in NRL finals).”