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'Meeks leads by her actions': Upton to share vice-captaincy duties

Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons fullback Tamika Upton has been named joint vice-captain of the team, as they head into tonight's must-win clash against New South Wales.

With vice-captain Zahara Temara named as 18th player for Game II at Newcastle's McDonald Jones Stadium, head coach Tahnee Norris has added Upton to the Maroons' leadership structure, rewarding her for the progression she has made throughout the game.

The reigning Dally M medallist, Upton has been in sensational form and will be key in tonight's clash as Queensland fights to save the series.

Maroons assistant coach Nathan Cross said ahead of the team walk this morning that the 27-year-old deserved the leadership accolades for all she has done in the game and for Queensland.

"We've got such a high opinion of 'Meeks' as a leader," Cross said.

"I think - and even she'd agree - that the last 12 months, she's come such a long way.

"On the field tonight, Tamika is going to be our vice-captain. 'Meeks' leads by her actions but she's one of the smartest female players I've ever been associated with.

"She knows what to do and when to do it. She's a really good voice and support for Ali (Brigginshaw). I'm proud of Tamika and she's just going to the next level all the time."

Even though Temara has been named as 18th player, Cross said she was still a leader of the team and had exemplified that this week with her actions.

"'Zee' is 18th player tonight, but she is still our vice-captain," he said.

"She's a very important member of the team. The work she has done this week, as playing a bit of a role in replicating what NSW might do, in the 17 years I've been coaching, it's almost the best I've ever seen someone do that.

"It's a hard role, emotionally it's difficult for a player to come in and do that. She is still our vice-captain."

State of Origin Game II will kick off at 7.45pm tonight.

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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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