NSW skipper Boyd Cordner is expecting preparation for this year’s State of Origin series to be similar to the build-up to post-season Kangaroos Tests.
For the first time, the interstate battle will be played after the NRL grand final over three consecutive weeks on November 4, 11 and 18.
And Cordner is aiming to lead his Blues to a third successive series crown.
With the NRL title decider rescheduled to October 25, that means players that aren’t involved in this year’s finals could be out of action for up to six weeks before Origin.
But Cordner, also the Australian captain, believed NSW coach Brad Fittler would likely set up a train-on squad, as used by the Kangaroos, to keep players in shape before selection.
The Kangaroos traditionally play at least one Test at the end of the NRL season; last year beating New Zealand but shock losers to Tonga.
“I don’t think it will be too much of an issue (playing at the end of the season),” Cordner said on Sunday.
“If you have a look at the international schedule that’s pretty normal for the boys.”
Cordner was certain any players given a chance of playing State of Origin would continue to train regardless of their respective team’s status.
“If I was in a position to play Origin I definitely wouldn’t let myself get out of shape that’s for sure,” he said.
“I’m sure Freddy (Fittler) will already have a plan in place for when all that does happen.”
Cordner, who has 15 Origin games to his credit, said a positive to come out of the new dates was that players would have an entire season to push their case for selection, which should result in the best possible line-ups.
“You’re definitely going to have the best team at the end of that,” he said.
“It is different but it’s different times for everyone.”