Dane Nielsen
Dane Nielsen Contributed

Dream win for boy from the bush

QUEENSLAND Origin centre Dane Nielsen could see on the eve of Wednesday night's decider that Maroons half-back Cooper Cronk thought the game might go down to the wire.

"It was funny - I finished training a little bit earlier than the other boys (on Tuesday)," he said.

"I had an early shower and went out to watch them do their extras.

"Coops was out there kicking field goals - I think he kicked about eight and he only missed one, that's how much of a professional he is.

"He knew the game might come down to that and that's exactly what happened ... so credit to him."

And for a wide-eyed kid growing up in Mackay, being part of those incredible moments at Suncorp Stadium were what the 27-year-old used to imagine.

"For a little boy from Mackay to play in an Origin decider and win by one point, it's something you dream of," he said.

After regular Queensland fullback Billy Slater was ruled out of the game due to a knee injury, Nielsen was so happy to get a chance to play his third Origin game, even with false speculation surrounding his fitness.

Reports surfaced last week the Storm centre entered camp with a chest injury, leaving a fully-fit Nielsen scratching his head.

"I don't know how that all came about, but that's Origin," he said.

"I didn't let it affect my preparation. It's all small talk. It's just part of the week I suppose."

Nielsen is just one of many whose career has been positively affected by retiring Queensland front-rower Petero Civoniceva.

"When I first entered Queensland camp last year, I didn't even know him from a bar of soap," Neilsen said.

"But he was one of the first people that made sure I had my shirt, my jeans and one of the first people to come and help me.

"I'm very happy we got the win for him."

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