Queensland's Johnathan Thurston ruled out of State of Origin opener


MAROONS champion Johnathan Thurston says he wants to play in Origin I but admits he faces an uphill battle to take part in the series opener.

It will be the first time in Cronk's 20-game Origin career that he will take to the field without Thurston in the team and the Melbourne No.7 says he must take on additional responsibility to ensure he and Milford get off to a winning start.

"I spoke to Kevvy the week leading into the selection and he was 50-50, he didn't know which way to go". You just bring what you do best to the football field in terms of the skill and we'll be right.

"With the general running of team he won't have to worry too much about that - what Milf brings is that one-on-one ability to explode and beat someone".

"He's a dynamic young player and I'm sure he will grab the opportunity with both hands and put in a performance that all of Queensland will be proud of", Thurston said.

Dugan has played seven of 11 games for the Dragons this season having also suffered a hamstring injury in his side's round five victory over Wests Tigers, forcing him to sit out two club matches.

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"The advice is "see ball, get ball" and take it from there", Cronk said.

"He won't be sitting back saying, I won't do that". Because that's what Origin's about, it's about moments and it's about not hesitating.

However, Queensland have told Brisbane star Milford he won't be expected to do the same job as the injured Thurston.

Thurston will remain with the Maroons squad on the Gold coast to help Milford with his preparations.

"I'm devastated I won't be playing next week, but the call needed to be made and it's the right decision for the team", Thurston said in a statement. "He just needs to find his role in the team.He doesn't need to do anything special, there are already special players in this team". We're not asking him to go over and beyond _ just do your job and no doubt he will do that.

NSW centre star Josh Dugan has declared he'll be 100 per cent fit when he runs onto Suncorp Stadium for Origin I on Wednesday night, though he's expecting Queensland to test that theory.