Call of Duty: man cave helps prep Olakau’atu for Origin

Jasper Bruce |

Haumole Olakau’atu posed for photos at the NSW Blues media day on Tuesday.
Haumole Olakau’atu posed for photos at the NSW Blues media day on Tuesday.

Call of Duty sessions in his “man cave” helped heal the troublesome calf injury Haumole Olakau’atu feared would deny him a second State of Origin cap.

The Manly forward joined teammates at training on the first day of Blues camp on Wednesday, while Penrith’s Liam Martin did not warm up as NSW take a cautious approach to his toe injury.

Four days after making his NSW debut from the bench in game one on June 5, Olakau’atu limped from the field in the first half of Manly’s round-14 loss to Penrith – a game Martin missed injured.

Scans showed no serious damage to the Manly forward’s calf, with ice, compression and rest prescribed by the club’s medical staff ahead of round 15.

Haumole Olakau'atu
Haumole Olakau’atu (centre) made his Origin debut for NSW in game one. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

All the while, Olakau’atu was fearing for his spot in the NSW team – a result of his calf complaint and the Blues’ 38-10 loss to Queensland in game one.

“I was worried about the injury at the start of (that) week,” Olakau’atu told AAP.

“(And) I’m pretty sure all the boys would have been having that thought (of being dropped) after a loss.”

To take his mind off the injury and Origin, Olakau’atu spent his free time in front of his computer screen.

Olakau’atu is a Call of Duty: Warzone enthusiast, with Manly teammate Tolu Koula and former Sea Eagles Christian Tuipulotu and Moses Suli among his regular gaming buddies.

“I have my own little man cave and I had my PC next to me, game ready,” he said, reflecting on his race to recover for Origin II in Melbourne next Wednesday.

“I just iced my leg and played ‘CoD’ all night. I was always keeping Manly up to date with everything I did.”

Olakau’atu was also in contact with Blues coach Michael Maguire during breaks from the screen

“He did call me a couple of times during the week. He was stoked that my scans were good,” he said.

Olakau’atu made it through his most crucial fitness test, the Sea Eagles’ game against St George Illawarra on Sunday, scoring a try and playing all 80 minutes of his side’s 30-14 win.

Martin returned to the field for Penrith’s 26-18 defeat of Newcastle on Sunday, having hurt his left big toe during Origin I.

He is expected back at Blues training on Thursday.

Haumole Olakau’atu (centre) proved his fitness in Manly’s win over St George Illawarra. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

Both men will be monitored by the Blues’ medical staff, but are on track to play in Origin II.

“I’ve just got to stay up to date with that calf niggle,” Olakau’atu said.

The 25-year-old can still get his Call of Duty fix during NSW’s camp for game two; he packed his games console in his luggage.

“When I get to Leura, I’m plugging it in straight away and having a few games,” he said ahead of his arrival at NSW’s Blue Mountains training camp.