IT WAS meant to be a friendly catch-up to pick the State of Origin teams.

But it didn't take long for Victoria coach Damien Hardwick to realise it was anything but.

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Arriving at the meeting a little earlier than expected to get a head start on his All Stars counterpart John Longmire, he was shocked to find he had been beaten to the punch.

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"First things first," Hardwick told with a smile.

"I walk in and we were meant to have a meeting at 2pm and 'Horse' is already up in the meeting room at 1.50pm and he's got his side already up.

"It was great, 'Horse' is a great character. He's one of those guys I generally gravitate to because he's got a great sense of humour. He's one of those gentlemen you'd really love to work with and it's a privilege to coach against him as well."

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With both coaches finding it difficult to pick the very best teams under the initial limit of three players per AFL club being available, they asked if they could scrap the ruling.

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Fortunately for both Hardwick and Longmire, as well as the game itself, they were allowed.

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"There's only meant to be three players from any side and it was really tough to try and figure out what's the best plan to put in place for that," Hardwick said.

"People are going to want to come to watch the very best play, so (we asked), 'can we push the envelope a little bit and get more players from certain sides to lend us their talent?'

"The great thing from our point of view is that every coach has said, 'yeah, absolutely'.

"The players are that keen to play, and we wouldn't want to stand in their way, so it's been 'whatever you need you've got' which is terrific."