Cameron Munster will make it his personal mission to nullify the two players he considers the best in the game – Nathan Cleary and Tom Trbojevic – when Queensland try to save the Origin series.
Munster admits he wasn’t 100 per cent when he made his comeback from a foot injury in Origin I but the 50-6 flogging by NSW left him shellshocked as it was by far the greatest belting he’s copped in his career.
Now he is back to full fitness and full confidence the Maroons five-eighth is determined to play his role defensively on Sunday at Suncorp Stadium to shut down the NSW star duo who he rates the best in the game at the moment.
"It’s hard to go past them two, Tommy and Nathan," Munster said when asked who was the best player in the Telstra Premiership.
"We need to do a good job on them and they’re on my side so I need to make sure I’m playing my best footy to nullify their space and time.
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"It’s hard to stop [Trbojevic] with the kind of player he is. He is on cloud nine at the moment so we just have to limit his involvements.
"I obviously trained the full week before the last game but I wasn’t 100 per cent running and moving off it like I wanted to.
"This week I have no excuses, I am ready and raring to go. I am 100 per cent and I played both games against the Warriors and Tigers and showed glimpses in the Tigers game of what I can do to make sure I can do that on Sunday."
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Queensland players sat through a difficult video review on Monday in their first day in camp, but now the slate is wiped clean and they’re ready to rebound in the strongest possible way in game two of the Ampol State of Origin series.
Munster remembers how the Maroons rallied from their heavy Origin II loss last year to win the decider and believes this squad has the mental fortitude and resilience to replicate the comeback.
"That’s probably the most I’ve been beaten by in any form of game of rugby league. It’s a bit disappointing but we can’t dwell on it too much now, it’s done unfortunately but we have to make sure we get past that," he said.
"We had our review [on Monday] and we just need to make sure we are right for Sunday.
"We are always the underdogs and always will be. We just need to go out there and play our footy and the footy we know we can play. We showed it last year and I can’t see why we can’t do that again.
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"The good thing about Origin rugby league is you get to play three games in this series and we’ve got two more left to try and make amends. I can’t see why we can’t do that.
"We have confidence in our group and we just have to train well. We didn’t train that great in the first game, we probably let it slide and let them think we will be right. We need to make sure we knuckle down this week because preparation is key."
One area Munster has identified he needs to improve is his kicking game. The Queensland No.6 registered just 265 metres from his 11 kicks in Origin I, compared to Cleary’s 12 kicks for 339m.
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Cleary was hitting all his target areas, while too often Munster’s towering bombs were landing short of their corner zones to make NSW carry the ball deep out of trouble.
"That’s where we lost the game, the field position where we let them have the ball," Munster said.
"We need to be better with our fifth tackle options and our movements around the game."
Origin II in Brisbane is sold out but tickets are still on sale for game three at Stadium Australia in Sydney on July 14 - get your tickets at NRL.com/tickets.