Maroons touch down in Proserpine for fan day
THE name of Queensland's next superstar may not yet be known but they could well have been one of the thousands of young smiling faces in Proserpine for the fan day.
A sea of maroon flowed down Proserpine's Main St yesterday when the Queensland team visited the sugar town.
More than 4000 people bustled their way to their favourite players, who obligingly signed autographs, posed for photos and spoke candidly.
"The players, once a year, realise how much they're adored and admired for what they do and know how much support they've got and they go back with a spring in their step going back into camp, realising that a lot of people are behind them," Queensland coach Mal Meninga said.
"They (the players) get to realise how lucky they are and how privileged they are to be doing what they're doing."
Following the street parade the players took part in a sold-out luncheon at the entertainment centre before taking part in a junior clinic at Les Stagg Oval.
The rainy day didn't keep any fans or aspiring players from throughout central and north Queensland travelling to see their heroes.
Captain Johnathan Thurston was a definite favourite but many wanted a piece of Origin debutant, local boy Dane Gagai.
Gagai was selected on the wing for the decider in Brisbane.
"I had the chance to be in the last two Origin (camps) but now to be having a run is going to be good," he said.
"To be part of the squad and come up to north Queensland and catch up with a few of my family is a great honour and achievement in my career."
Meninga and Thurston, speaking to the public, acknowledged Proserpine was doing it tougher than years gone by, further endearing them to fans.