No Origin clouds for Brad Davis this time
A TEN-minute torture test on his fragile ribs just before kick-off will determine if NSW skipper Kurt Gidley plays in tonight's rugby league Origin series finale.
But one man who will definitely take the field tonight is Tweed Heads Seagulls captain Brad Davis.
Okay, he won't be running out for the Blues or the Maroons, but that doesn't lessen the occasion for the local star, who will captain the Queensland Residents against NSW Residents in the curtain-raiser.
Davis was handed the honour after leading Queensland Country to victory over City in their annual clash earlier this month, and he will have fellow Seagull Ben Jeffery by his side.
It's an honour that's been two years in the making for Davis, who was actually named Queensland Residents captain last year as well, only to be called up to the Titans to make his NRL debut.
“I'm definitely looking forward to getting out there and running out at Suncorp,” Davis said yesterday. “It's the best stadium in rugby league.”
While he says Queensland Residents don't know much about their opposition, they are expecting a quality outfit, and the game to be a tough and physical encounter.
“We've been in camp since last Friday, and everyone's gelled well, so we're just looking forward to setting the stage for Origin,” Davis said.
But if Davis sees it as a big night for Queensland, Gidley reckons Origin III is the best chance NSW has had for a victory.
Queensland is minus key members of its pack, including enforcer Petero Civoniceva plus giant winger Israel Folau. But Gidley said the Maroons' injury crisis would not be enough to guarantee victory.
“I wouldn't like to think we'd win this game just because they've got a couple of injuries, I'd like to think we're going to win for our attitude in defence,” he said.
Restricted from any contact work through the Blues' Origin III preparation, Gidley's cracked rib cartilage will be administered with a painkilling injection before being given a good going-over by teammates ahead of the dead-rubber clash.
If he can withstand the barrage, Gidley will play, but shadow player Luke Patten will also warm up in case the pain is too much for the Newcastle fullback to bear.
“We're very confident,” coach Craig Bellamy said.
“Kurt's busting to play ... he wants to play and he's our captain and he's a very important player for us.
“If Kurt happens to drop out, Luke's done enough training to fit in there real smoothly.”