The word out of the Queensland camp was that Gagai had missed yesterday’s training session due to tonsillitis, leading NSW icons Phil Gould and Paul Gallen to accuse the Maroons of ‘smokescreening’.
After Gallen claimed that South Sydney teammate Alex Johnston had encountered a perfectly healthy Gagai on FaceTime today, “singing songs” on a call, Thurston lashed back.
“I wish it was (a smokescreen),” Thurston said on Nine’s 100% Footy.
“I’ve had to do a fair bit of video with Gags to get him up to speed with what we’ve done throughout the week. This is not a smokescreen, he hasn’t been great.
“But he’s fully fit now and after our video he’ll be up to speed with everything at our final training run tomorrow.
“Gags is one of our most experienced players in the team so he knows what it’s all about.”
The Maroons have also kept outsiders guessing on the fitness of Cameron Munster (foot), Harry Grant (hamstring) and AJ Brimson (knee).
It led to Gould slamming the Queensland Rugby League on this week’s edition of Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles with Gus. The former Blues coach took exception to the QRL’s decision to not announce its squad in positions and the mystery surrounding several players.
“We can’t go giving away all our secrets,” Thurston laughed.
“Camp’s been great. Obviously there’s been a couple of little hiccups with some injury concerns when we first got into camp, but those will be put to bed.
“It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, but we’ve got full confidence in the group that we’ve picked.”
“Obviously Benny Hunt has just gotten into camp after the unfortunate injury of Reed Mahoney, which isn’t great,” Thurston said.
“Benny’s been playing great footy there at the Dragons so it’s good to have him in camp.”
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!