Maroons can soldier on: Shillo
Queensland's Sam Thaiday and NSW captain Paul Gallen pose with the State of Origin Shield at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
They're sick, tired and contagious, but David Shillington insists a virus sweeping through the Queensland camp will not derail the Maroons' bid to win a seventh successive State of Origin series.
Canberra Raiders prop Shillington was one of the first players to be bedridden after succumbing to an illness last week.
The Maroons' preparation took another hit yesterday on the eve of game one in Melbourne when captain Cameron Smith was quarantined from his teammates.
Soldiering on ... David Shillington on the run during a Queensland Maroons training session at Xavier College. Photo: Getty Images
But coach Mal Meninga says there are no plans to bring in an emergency replacement for the international hooker.
Shillington was forced to sit out last Wednesday's training with similar symptoms to Smith but has fully recovered and is raring to go for Origin I.
There was no hint of a sniff or a cough from the big front-rower - sounds that would've been music to NSW supporters' ears.
Instead, his words sounded a warning to all Cockroaches fans hoping Queensland's Origin dominance might finally come to an end this year.
''I've been really impressed with how sharp the team is at the moment,'' Shillington told The Canberra Times yesterday. ''We've all been together as a team for a long time either with this Queensland side or the Anzac Test [against New Zealand] this year, I think there's about a dozen Queenslanders in that team so pretty familiar combinations.''
Speculation surrounds the source of the flu with some fingers pointed in Shillington's direction, but he hinted it might have come from Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater.
''I think Billy had it last week for the Storm, so maybe I got it off him after that, I don't know, and then I might've given it to someone else but I don't know, it's just one of those things that happens this time of year,'' Shillington said.
But he wouldn't be drawn on who else, if any, had also been struck down. Maroons doctor Roy Saunders said several players were suffering from upper respiratory tract viral infections.
''Some players like Dave Shillington and Billy Slater are coming out of it while others, like Cam Smith, are going into it,'' Saunders said.
''We've put Cameron into isolation to keep him away from the other players and we're continuing to monitor the progress of the players displaying symptoms.''
Meninga said there was no thought of calling in an extra hooker even though his squad didn't contain a back-up for Smith.
''He's just got a touch of the flu,'' he said. ''This is more precautionary to make sure we get on top of things early. The last thing he [Smith] wanted to do was come to a press conference not feeling well.
''We'll isolate him from the rest of the team for 24 hours and see how he pulls up tomorrow.''
Queensland was based in Torquay, at the start of the Great Ocean Road, but will have its captain's run in Melbourne today.
Shillington was looking forward to having a pro-Queensland crowd at Etihad Stadium tomorrow night, despite it officially being a NSW home game.
The Maroons boast Storm stars Smith, Slater and Cooper Cronk, as well as former Melbourne centre Greg Inglis, making them an easy option for Victorians to get behind.
''They're all extremely popular players in the game itself, so they bring a whole lot of support down this way for us, which is nice, and I think we'll appreciate it on Wednesday night when there's a fair amount of cheering for the Maroons going on,'' Shillington said. with AAP