NSW team members tackle a training session at Cudgen yesterday in preparation for Wednesday’s Origin clash.
NSW team members tackle a training session at Cudgen yesterday in preparation for Wednesday’s Origin clash. Blainey Woodham

Crack Cudgen product

THE New South Wales Blues were filled with enthusiasm at yesterday’s training session at Ned Byrne Field and it was sweet dreams for former Cudgen player Tom Learoyd-Lahrs.

After five straight losses, the Blues don’t want to be passengers – they want to be the drivers in State of Origin II next Wednesday night.

The call-up to the top squad has served as a double injection of happiness for Learoyd-Lahrs, playing for his state and training at his junior ground. Learoyd-Lahrs said it was good to be back on the Tweed and very exciting to have the camp based there.

“I just wanted to make the team first and foremost,” he said.

“It is also great to get the opportunity to come and play here as I’ve got a lot of family members playing for the club (Cudgen Hornets) so it is exciting.”

Tackling the biggest stage in rugby league is a pivotal moment for Learoyd-Lahrs who started out as a junior with Cudgen and now plays in the back-row for the Canberra Raiders.

Learoyd-Lahrs has had his share of representative duties and this year he played for Country against City in the annual Origin trial. But perhaps what is more important is that he has had some Origin minutes when starting in game three last year.

The Blues camp yesterday confirmed they would be in for a tough match and were determined to fire back with the hope of a sharp turn in fortune.

Blues coach Craig Bellamy said they were more confident with preparations so far and were just taking it one day at a time.

“We have done a bit of travel yesterday (Wednesday) and it is just good to be here but also good to start training,” he said.

Assistant coach and Blues legend Andrew ‘Joey’ Johns said it would be difficult to overcome the Maroons at Suncorp Stadium and starting their captain Kurt Gidley from the bench didn’t pose a problem.

“It is going to be hard to beat them up there but it’s been good preparation so the boys will be ready,” he said. “Kurt Gidley starting from the bench is the best thing for the team and it hasn’t affected his performance.”

Hornets operations manager Graeme Lawrence said it was great to have the Blues training on the quality Cudgen surface.



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