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Maroons star Cameron Munster believes he still has work to do before he can be considered in the same tier as his Origin rivals Nathan Cleary and James Tedesco.

The Queensland No.6 will make his 16th Origin appearance in the series opener next Wednesday in Adelaide, and while happy with his 2023 form for the most part, he doesn't yet consider himself in the elite group of players in that arena. 

"I think for me just being able to control the game a little bit more and not be as erratic in certain stages of the game," Munster said. 

"It works at times and then it doesn’t work, so I have probably just got to be a bit more consistent at areas of the game with my decision making.

If I can do that, I can obviously elevate into the caliber of your Tedescos or Nathan Clearys or your JTs [Johnathan Thurston].

Cameron Munster

"Until I can do that, I’ll probably be still just a good player."

Munster missed last year's series decider after testing positive for COVID-19, but watched on proudly as Tom Dearden stepped in to help the Maroons to victory in his Origin debut.

But despite his heroics in 2022, the Cowboys' playmaker is set to watch on next Wednesday as 18th man, and Munster considers him unlucky not to be in the playing 17. 

"Tommy did a really good job for us at Suncorp on his debut and it’s probably unfortunate for him [not to be in the 17]," Munster said.

Slater full of praise for Dearden

"I was so proud for Tommy the way he played.

"It’s good competition for us as halves and I know in previous years we haven’t had that competition or had that depth, so it’s good for Queensland.  

"I have played some consistent games this year, had some good moments, had some 50-50 moments, but I have just got to go out there and play the footy I have played [in the past at Origin level]."

Munster's vision

Meanwhile Munster said he expects the Maroons' sole debutant, fullback Reece Walsh, to find another level in Origin camp under the tutelage of coach Billy Slater, who is arguably the greatest fullback to play for Queensland.

After an impressive opening three months of the NRL season with the Broncos, which has included setting up 13 tries in 11 games, Walsh has beaten Kalyn Ponga to the No.1 jersey.

"He’s obviously going to elevate his game even more when he comes under Billy," Munster said. 

Reece Walsh's Origin Mixtape

"I am sure he will light up Adelaide Oval on Wednesday

"I’ll send whatever his way. I will make sure I can give it to him and I won’t be supporting him, because he’s that fast. 

"I’ll be watching from afar and clapping my hands, saying 'go Reecey, go!'"

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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