Of all the ignominies Queensland suffered after a 50-6 loss to NSW in the game one of the Origin series, the image of Felise Kaufusi being posterised by a screaming Jarome Luai took the cake.
There he was, the brash NSW rookie, towering over and triumphantly bellowing at crestfallen Kaufusi, who had just been steamrolled by Junior Paulo. It was everything you needed to know about the lop-sided contest in one still frame.
The photo in quesion: Jarome Luai roaring at a prone Felise Kaufusi.Credit:NRL Photos
It didn’t take long for the photo to start doing the rounds of former Maroons, who had hoped it was just the kind of propaganda that might spark a desperate resurgence in Sunday night’s second clash at Suncorp Stadium.
The days of square ups are long gone, but Kaufusi has “kept the receipts”. Being on the end of a record loss was motivation enough but he said he will go into the contest wanting to show Luai that every Origin outing isn’t a trip to the theme park.
“I don’t think I need any more motivation than that thrashing that we copped there but I’ve kept the receipts there and hopefully can turn it around,” the Storm back-rower said.
“He plays with a lot of passion – that’s what Origin is all about – so hopefully I can flip the script there. They’re on cloud nine at the moment and so they should be after that win.”
Kaufusi wasn’t exactly certain of the moment the image was taken. He thought it was after he had just dropped a ball and Luai, the outstanding young Penrith playmaker, was letting him know all about it. Luai said it was after a thundering charge from Paulo after a kick-off, of which Queensland were well-versed by fulltime.
“There you go,” Kaufusi said when told by media on Thursday.“I must have got steamrolled … I more embarrassed at myself to be honest and that’s just the passion. We need to play with that sort of passion too.”
There have been some mixed messages about the standard of training in the prelude to game one. After the match, he seemed to suggest there needed to be a change, then on Monday said he was largely content with the preparation ahead of the opener.
This time, there will an opposed session to help with cohesion, while Kaufusi said a video review of the match had laid bare the long list of issues that need to be solved.
“There were some dropped balls in training and that leaked in,” Kaufusi said. “I dropped one cold [in Townsville] but the session [on Tuesday] has been our best session this whole two camps.
“Our backs are against the wall but we love a fight and have always been underdogs.”
Jai Arrow has overcome an infection and was due to train with the side on Thursday. He has been moved to an edge for game two to make way for the key inclusion of prop Josh Papalii, who partners Christian Welch in the froont row.
The Maroons desperately need some strong minutes out of that pair after being shut out of the game from the outset in the first match. Welch played just 15 minutes of the opener after failing a head injury assessment and Papa Papalii was suspended – his straight running will go a long way to squaring up the Queensland attack.
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