Victory to the NSW Blues in the first State of Origin match for 2017 was achieved from their base in northern NSW where they got the chance to meet the local community who were hit by the Easter floods.
‘One of the things I really enjoy doing as a rugby league player is coming out to small communities and small country towns to see how much the people and the kids really appreciate you,’ Blues forward Josh Jackson said.
‘A lot of them have just lost everything and to see them with a smile on their faces just from a high-five and a signature means the world.
‘It gives you a buzz and makes you remember how much it meant to me when I was a kid. You’ve got to pinch yourself sometimes and it’s something that you try not to take for granted. You forget how much it means to other people. It’s a very humbling thing,’ he said.
The Blues were based in northern NSW at the Mantra on Salt Beach at Kingscliff, just a little more than 10km from the Queensland border, to prepare for the first 2017 State of Origin clash in Brisbane. They will repeat the exercise for game three after playing game two in Sydney.
Blues coach Laurie Daley said the move to the Tweed would result in better preparation for the two Brisbane Origin matches, with less training time lost in travel.
‘We wanted to change our approach to the Brisbane games and have less time in Brisbane, as well as not losing a day in travel as we have done in the past,’ Daley said.