Hodges: The time to really rip in is now

This week is the last chance players will get to impress the State of Origin selectors - to push their case. 

Obviously the selectors and coach Kevin Walters will have 18 players in mind, who they like, but there's a couple of guys who are on the fringe of pushing for positions.

It’s really important all of the guys in contention really put a good performance in for their club sides this week; to boost confidence and bring that into camp one.

That will make our plans a lot easier, in terms of everyone coming into camp happy. So, hopefully everyone puts in a good performance for their last round before Origin.

I'd like to see Anthony Milford get a run, but for me, I think Joe Ofahengaue has been impressive for the Brisbane Broncos for the last couple of years. Having spent time with him during the last few years of my career, I have watched as he has really developed into a very good player. 

Joe Ofahengaue in action for the Brisbane Broncos. Photo: NRL Images
Joe Ofahengaue in action for the Brisbane Broncos. Photo: NRL Images

Ofahengaue has really come along during the past few years in terms of his leadership. He understands his role and knows what it's like to play rugby league.

I just think given that opportunity to play Origin would make him an even better player because he'd be playing the best of the best.

He is made for Origin. He is big, he's tough, he's aggressive.

I just think coming into that environment, where you're around great players and great staff, and in the environment where Origin is the pinnacle of our sport, I think he'd really blossom from that.

Joe Ofahengaue during this year's Emerging Origin camp. Photo: QRL Media
Joe Ofahengaue during this year's Emerging Origin camp. Photo: QRL Media

Let's hope he can put a good performance in this week and I'd love to see him named in the Queensland side on Monday. 

My biggest advice for guys on the fringes is to make sure their preparation is right. Make sure they put in the training and do all the little things they need to do. 

Just go out there and have fun and play rugby league - that's the most important thing. 

Don't worry about if you're going to be picked or not. If you play well for your team, and you're doing your job, you'll shine and it will make Kevvie and the selectors look at you a lot more closely. Play your best football and hopefully that speaks for itself.

Get out there and perform and have fun. Do everything you can to make your team be successful and don't leave selectors a chance not to pick you. 

Camp leading into Game I is very important, especially with a high turnover of players.

The 2018 Game III Queensland line up. Photo: QRL Media
The 2018 Game III Queensland line up. Photo: QRL Media

Greg Inglis was the last of that dynasty that we had, so we've got a bit of a changeover now with a lot of young guys, so it's important that the guys really develop and form that friendship the way that we did off the field.

Don't be sitting in your room, isolating yourself. Make sure you create those friendship away from the rugby league field because, especially with Origin matches, those relationships you create really come into play.

In tight matches you don't want to let your mate down; and that's something we'll be driving from day one. 

Beating New South Wales this year is obviously going to be a big challenge - they're going to have a strong side once again.

They took the shield home last year, so it's our job this year to make sure we get in there, be competitive and do all the little things we need to do off the field and when we get on the field, we need to put in a good performance. That's what we all want. That's what we all expect. 

I'm pretty sure whichever 17 guys are out there will do the job and will do Queensland proud.