Intensity lifts in Maroons camp
RUGGED second-rower Chris McQueen is intent on repaying the selectors' faith with a powerful performance in the opening exchanges of State of Origin II on Wednesday night.
A shock inclusion in the Maroons squad for game one in Sydney earlier this month, the 25-year-old produced a strong showing off the bench on debut.
As a result, he has been promoted to the run-on side and it is hoped his presence will lift Queensland's intensity after its lacklustre showing early in game one.
On that occasion, Queensland stuttered to a deficit of 14-0 after just 30 minutes, en route to a 14-6 defeat.
McQueen said at Palmer Coolum Resort yesterday: "It's no secret that we probably started a little bit slow in game one, so Mal's changed a few things around and is bringing some guys into the starting team. So hopefully we can start off a bit faster and hopefully get a few more tries.
"That's my job, to get out there in the first 20, 25 minutes and try and make an impact.
"If I can get the ball and run harder and make my tackles we'll go one step forward to a win."
McQueen and Corey Parker have essentially replaced David Shillington and Ashley Harrison in the pack, Queensland having been well beaten by the Blues in that area last outing.
"If you're not winning that (forward) battle, then the backs are going to be getting the ball standing still and they're not going to be able to do anything with it," McQueen said.
After enjoying being in the Queensland camp before the series opener, McQueen he noticed a much more intense approach from the squad for its must-win clash at Suncorp Stadium.
"We've only had one training session (prior to yesterday), but that was more intense than anything we did in the first camp," he said.
"Even just the way the boys are carrying themselves around camp - every-one's here to make sure we do the job we need to do.
"And I've thought about it and I think that would be pretty embarrassing for me to come into the camp and have the (seven-year winning) streak end in my first year."
One of McQueen's jobs will be repel the Blues back-rower Luke Lewis.
"He played really well in the first game, so that's going to be a big task for me this week, to make sure I can shut him down," McQueen said.
"If you can get your defence right, your attack will sort of come naturally on the back of that."
There is also a chance of McQueen playing on the left edge in attack, alongside centre and Souths teammate Greg Inglis.
"I play on the left for Souths and Greg favours that left side when he plays fullback, so we've already got that combination there and hopefully we can bring that into this game," McQueen said.