Maroons urge Chambers to control himself
JUSTIN Hodges was a master of niggle but he has warned Will Chambers not to be distracted by the "pushing and shoving'' with fearsome foe Latrell Mitchell in Wednesday's State of Origin match.
Chambers was recently voted the best sledger in the NRL for the second year in a row but the feisty Mitchell dominated him in the physical and verbal stakes in last year's series.
Their rematch is one of the key components of Origin I at Suncorp Stadium and former Origin centre Hodges has paid special attention to Chambers in his role as assistant coach.
"Will just has to make sure he gets his own preparation and focus right,'' Hodges said.
"I have been talking to him all week. Don't worry about the push and shove. Just build your game. Make your tackles.
"In saying that it might be in his mind that he wants to square up.
"For me it would be personal, 100 per cent, but it would be up to Will.
"Will is going to have a tough night but I know he will do the job.''
The Maroons looked relaxed and ready for battle at their final team walk at Southbank and Hodges believes it is essential the underdog Maroon forwards rise to the challenge of matching the Blues pack.
"They have a lot of guys who like to go through the middle so we have to muscle up and give our talented players plenty of room.''
It had been speculated new hooker Ben Hunt may start off the bench but Hodges expects him to be in the run-on side.
"I think Ben Hunt will start at nine. We will name as strong a 13 as possible. We want to set a platform from the start.
"We need Josh McGuire out wide doing those tough carries he does with his off-loads.''
Indigenous players Cody Walker and Josh Addo-Carr (NSW) and Queensland's Chambers plan not to sing Australia's national anthem.
Hodges has supported their stance despite happily singing the anthem himself.
"There is a lot of history and a lot of things that come with it. They have taken a stance and I appreciate it takes a lot of courage. You have to respect their wishes," he said.
"For me, I have never had problem singing with it because I always thought of the soldiers and the guys who put their lives on the line.
"It just goes back to their beliefs. It is a very tough situation for our people.''