Origin team to boost victims

QUEENSLAND State of Origin halfback Johnathan Thurston is coming to Emerald.

Thurston and the entire Origin side, along with coach Mal Meninga, will visit Emerald prior to the second State of Origin in June this year for a fan day that will carry extra significance.

The visit by the all-conquering Queensland side is expected to give Central Queensland locals an extra boost after flooding in December and January destroyed most of their town.

QRL Central Division chairman Bert Borland said the visit would be a “shot in the arm” for the people of Emerald and surrounding areas affected by the devastating floods.

“It will be a great opportunity for the community to celebrate the Origin team being in town,” Borland said.

“People are already starting to put the flood disaster behind them but this visit will give a lot of people something to look forward to.

“The community will grasp the opportunity with both hands.”

Thousands of rugby league fans from throughout Central Queensland are expected to attend the Fan Day at Emerald’s Alan McIndoe Oval on Wednesday, June 8.

Before donning the training gear for a hit out and autograph session, the Queensland players will attend a civic reception and sports lunch.

Borland said many fans from rugby league-mad Central Queensland would travel hundreds of kilometres to Emerald for the chance to meet their Origin heroes.

The Queensland Origin team has a strong connection to the area with former Maroons players Steven Bell and Alan McIndoe both from Emerald, while South Sydney Rabbitohs star David Taylor, a member of the successful 2010 Queensland team, is from nearby Blackwater.

After a strong performance in the 2011 NRL All Star match earlier this month, Taylor is expected to once again be a member of the Queensland team.

2011 Harvey Norman State of Origin Series

Game 1: May 25, Suncorp Stadium

Game 2: June 15, ANZ Stadium (Sydney)

Game 3: July 6, Suncorp Stadium

Tickets for the two Brisbane matches will on sale 9am, March 16.

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