THANKS MAL: Mal Meninga gives a gift to a young fan who will fully appreciate it one day.
THANKS MAL: Mal Meninga gives a gift to a young fan who will fully appreciate it one day. Zac Luke

Origin heroes love the thrill in Longreach

ARGUABLY the biggest event in Central West Rugby League history drew a phenomenal response from the local community at Longreach's Queensland Origin Squad Fan Day.

Stars such as Johnathan Thurston, Darius Boyd, Brent Tate and Nate Myles gave their most passionate supporters a once-in-a- lifetime experience.

But Maroons captain Cameron Smith said it was not just the fans that got a thrill from the event.

"It's obviously special for the boys to come out and see everyone out here," Smith said.

"It's nice to come out and put some smiles on everyone's faces, and particularly the kids that love rugby league.

"They don't get to see their heroes too often."

While the whole squad was not able to make the trip out west, there was no shortage of rugby league royalty for the adoring locals to swamp on the street.

"We've got a lot of past legends that are part of our coaching staff," Smith said.

Those legends included Allan Langer, Trevor Gillmeister, Kevin Walters and of course Maroons coach Mal Meninga.

"We understand how important rugby league in these areas," Meninga said.

"We probably get more out of it to be honest.

"The players go back, they get a realisation about it and they really don't want to let these guys down."

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