Munster reveals battles with hangovers and care factor but vows to step up in Origin

A candid Cameron Munster is ready to own the State of Origin arena, admitting he was “just hoping it happened” in last year’s lacklustre Queensland series loss.

The pivotal five-eighth spent a month in a wellness facility to address gambling and drinking problems, checking himself in and footing the bill after last year’s infamous white powder scandal almost cost him his Melbourne NRL contract.

He returned for pre-season training in career-best shape and, still on a club-imposed drinking ban, was reflective in camp Maroon ahead of next Wednesday’s series opener in Sydney.

“I’ve gone into Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays hungover, not putting a lot of input in at the club (Storm),” he said.

Cameron Munster of the Maroons looks on following game one

Cameron Munster (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

“And then coming well Thursday, Friday and playing on the weekends.

“Last year (during Origin) I was in and out of games just hoping it happened.

“This year it’s a different story; a bit fitter and excited to bring a bit more leadership in my role.”

Munster said he’d lean on his strengths and aim to “run around like a headless chook” as part of a new-look team boasting in-form rookies and experience.

The stage is set for Munster to make his mark and he’s sensing the moment.

“I haven’t dished up that (good football) in the last couple of years; but I’m in good form and it’d be nice to go out and have a good game,” he said.

“I just want to be consistent; I’m getting paid the big bucks, there’s speculation when I’m not playing well, (people asking) ‘am I worth that money?’.”

Former Storm teammate and rookie coach Billy Slater said the plan would be to give Munster as much ball as possible.

“He’s important to our team. I don’t know how important the series is to him, but he’s in a really good space at the moment,” Slater said.

“Happy off the field with partner and new baby. That’s helped him on the field and in the last six to eight months he’s worked really hard.

“He’s got himself in good physical shape and is seeing the game as good as he’s ever seen it.

“I love watching him play.”

The side trained together for the first time on Tuesday in Brisbane before heading south to the Gold Coast where they’ll be based ahead of next week’s opener.

Rookie winger Selwyn Cobbo lined up on the right wing, outside centre Dane Gagai, with Xavier Coates shifting from his regular flank to the left outside Valentine Holmes.

Named in the No.14, hooker Harry Grant remains in Melbourne battling the flu.

North Queensland half Tom Dearden is the likely next man up if the Storm talent isn’t fit to play.

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