Heart surgery keeps Kerrod Walters away from game one
FOR the first time in a long time, Kerrod Walters won't be at the first State of Origin match for the year.
The rugby league legend has decided to cheer on the Maroons from the comfort of his couch, while recovering from his second round of heart surgery.
Walters said despite missing the first and 100th game of the series, he would try to catch the third, to be held at Suncorp Stadium on July 9.
"I am in recovery and trying to take it easy," he said.
Despite leading a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly, the Caloundra businessman suffered a heart attack last May and underwent his first round of surgery to install a stent to clear a blocked artery.
Then last month, he had to go under the knife again after tests revealed his suspect artery was 80% blocked due to scar tissue build-up.
"This experience has made me more aware that if something is happening with your body and it is not normal, go to the doctors," Walters said.
"I had a couple of warning signs that I ignored the first time, but the second time I knew something was wrong.
It opened his eyes to the need for men of all ages and fitness levels to be aware of the symptoms of heart disease."
The former Bronco, Maroon and Australian hooker said the high number of unsold full priced Origin tickets for the first game in Brisbane was a concern.
"Obviously pricing was too high," Walters said.
"Usually tickets sell out in 10 minutes.
"The tickets were out of people's reach.
"Origin is the highlight on the sporting calendar and if the ticket price is too high people will watch from home."
Walters said this year's State of Origin would be interesting with well-chosen players for both teams.