Indigenous winger Blake Ferguson has upped the intensity ahead of Saturday's clash with the Maoris All Stars with a friendly fire training hit on teammate Jack Wighton that sent shockwaves through the squad.
In a training tackle that got everyone talking in Townsville, Ferguson dropped Wighton with crunching hit during an opposed drill as the Indigenous side ramped up their intensity ahead of Saturday's clash with the Maoris at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Ferguson flattened Wighton moments after media were told to turn their cameras off at training, so while there was no proof of this tackle it was all anyone in attendance could talk about after the session ended.
"Did you see that? Did you get it on camera?" asked Indigenous winger Alex Johnston.
"He laid him out but poor Jacky. Fergie just got a bit too hungry I think and went after it and it was a good shot.
"We don't need to get Fergie's head any bigger, we will try to calm him down before the game."
Giant back-rower David Fifita said he even felt the wrath of a fired-up Ferguson at training but it was that intensity that he enjoyed so much about playing with the Eels winger.
"I like playing with Fergo, he is full of energy," said Fifita.
"He brings the excitement and aggression but also the laughter to camp so it's always good to be around him.
"I think [his training hits were] just the excitement to be back training. He was just chilling yesterday watching from the sideline but I think he was just excited to be out there and he was full of energy and put a couple of hits on, he even got me one."
The lift in intensity at training by the Indigenous All Stars is an ominous sign as they look for revenge to last year's loss to the Maoris on the Gold Coast.
Johnston admitted his team was hungry for redemption and wanted to prove a point in what is likely to be a very pro-Indigenous crowd in north Queensland.
"It's very serious, this is one of the games you look forward to," he said.
"You get out there and definitely want to win and we're very hungry for a win this year.
"It feels like [it will be a home game], we've had a lot of support from people driving past and screaming out and we can't wait to get out there in front of a packed crowd and put on a show for them."
All Stars: Where it all began
Johnston said he expects to get some game time at fullback on Saturday, but was equally excited to see how his South Sydney teammate Latrell Mitchell resumes from a knee injury.
He believes Mitchell's recovery from knee surgery and rehab has put him in better shape than the same time last year.
"The plan is obviously Trell starts there and see how he goes but I'm sure at some point I will get there," Johnston said.
"Fitness-wise he's been good and his injury has come along well and I think he is sweet now.
"He is probably fitter this year than he was last year and hopefully he stays at fullback for as long as he can."
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