Greg Inglis may be the only Rabbitoh playing for Queensland this Wednesday, but the Club will have another representative on the field for the Maroons, in the form of Rabbitohs High Performance Manager, Troy Thomson.
A long-time member of Mal Meninga’s coaching staff at the Maroons as a trainer, Thomson will be seen wearing the orange trainer’s shirt on Wednesday night at the MCG when the Maroons look to wrap up the 2015 State of Origin Series against New South Wales.
For his part, Thomson feels privileged to play what he describes as a ‘small part’ in a big team that enjoys the support of an entire passionate state.
“There’s just something about Queensland and that jumper,” says Thomson from camp in Melbourne.
“Just the way people get behind the team every year and the passion that everyone has for it. It’s something I’m honoured to be a small part of.”
Growing up in the Rugby League mad state, Thomson admits that he – like many young kids – aspired to play for the Maroon’s.
“As a kid, you’re always kicking the footy around dreaming that you’re playing for Queensland,” said Thomson.
“I knew pretty early on that I’d never play for them, but that’s still an aspiration for every little kid that loves sport up there and it says a lot about what that jumper means.
“Growing up there, Wednesday night of Origin was just the best because you knew that you’d be going home from school to watch the game and that feeling has just stuck with me even now that I’m a part of it in my own little way.”
Aside from having one of the best seats in the house from which to watch the game (on the field) Thomson says there are other personal perks to being a part of ‘Camp Maroon’.
“We get to be surrounded by legends of the game – some people that I even grew up watching,” says Thomson.
“We sit around and have dinner and you’re talking to people like Allan Langer, Trevor Gillmeister, Steve and Kevin Walters and obviously Mal Meninga.
“To be privileged enough to be in that company and hear their stories – it’s pretty inspiring.”
Another by-product of Thomson’s passion though is the inevitable State of Origin banter that occurs every year within the Rabbitohs, with the Club’s players and coaching staff all picking a side based on state lines. With proud New South Welshmen such as Matt King and Eddie Farah on staff, the banter flies thick and fast at Origin time.
“The banter is front and centre, especially around Origin time that’s for sure,” laughs Thomson.
“I’m very passionate about Queensland and I’ve certainly let the boys know as much. Whenever it comes up it’s always a bit of fun around the dressing sheds and training.
“It’s all a bit of fun, but certainly there’s plenty of passion on both sides of the fence at this time of year, and it just increases as the Series goes on.”
Thomson and Inglis’ Maroons have been preparing in Melbourne for the past week, with Thomson confident that his players are ready to perform their individual roles to get their hands back on the Origin shield.
“We’ve had a good preparation down here,” said Thomson.
“We’ve been able to train in Melbourne all week which has been really good for the players. They’ve been able to get an idea of the conditions down here so they can prepare accordingly.
“We’ve just got to make sure we’re at our peak come Wednesday and we’ll see what happens.
“It all comes down to Wednesday night. I’ll definitely be there doing my thing.”
The State of Origin hostilities resume this Wednesday night at the MCG.