Confident Norman calling the shots at Maroons training
COREY Norman's teammates say his unabashed confidence off the field will allow him to fit in seamlessly when the Maroons try to wrestle the State of Origin shield back from NSW next Wednesday night.
Star winger Dane Gagai observed Norman calling the shots and running the balls in yesterday's skills session and said he was up for the task.
Gagai believes Norman will "float around the park", alluding that Queensland skipper Daly Cherry-Evans will act again as chief playmaker.
While the Maroons have lost X-factor Kalyn Ponga, the new-look spine can still spell trouble for the Blues.
"Normy is cruisy as. He is very vocal, he talks a lot off the field, and that translates into his game," Gagai said.
"He is very good at communicating, putting forwards into holes and the shape he wants the backs. For us, it's very beneficial.
"He doesn't get flustered. He is a confidence player, but pressure doesn't really get to him.
"We've been practising our shapes today and really nailing down what we want to do. He has a good understanding of it now.
"So he can go out and play his natural footy. He's an instinctive player who plays with the flow of the game... much like (Cameron) Munster out the back. Which will be good for us."
It's not the first time in Maroons camp for Norman, but it's the first time he'll actually run out for them.
Norman said it helped having former Brisbane teammate and current Dragons' half Ben Hunt at hooker.
"It's been good ... coming into camp for Origin II really helped. I got to run a few sessions and get to know the calls and plays, so coming into this camp has really made me feel more comfortable," Norman said.
"For me and Chez (Cherry-Evans) we have still got Munster at the back who is going to have very big involvements, so for us it is about keeping it simple and knowing our roles.
"It's part of my job to talk. I am a half. I can't be out there not saying anything.
"I don't have to come up with any special plays or anything like that. I just have to worry about what I have to do.
"I am always confident in my own ability. Who doesn't want to play State of Origin? A decider."
It's not the first time Norman will have been thrown in the deep end.
Lock-forward Josh McGuire was there when a younger, skinnier Norman made his memorable NRL debut with the Brisbane Broncos in 2010.
Norman ran out on Suncorp Stadium as fullback that day, earning man-of-the-match honours in a thrilling 30-24 win over the Cowboys.
"We go back to about 2006 I think, we grew up playing together," McGuire said.
"I know what an athlete he is, nothing phases him. I was super pumped when he got the call-up.
"When we came through the Broncos together he was just a larrakin who loved his footy, and nothing's changed.
"I'm excited to see what he can do in this arena."