The Blues will go into Wednesday night’s Origin at Suncorp Stadium full of confidence from not only their performance in the series opener but the way Queensland has reacted to the defeat.
After seven years of Maroons domination, there is a feeling in the NSW camp that the tide has turned and they can seal the series with their first win in Brisbane since 2009.
Suddenly all the pressure is on Queensland and complaints by the Maroons that their opponents were offside, didn’t stand square at marker and resorted to dirty tactics in Origin I has convinced the Blues that they are 80 minutes from glory.
So confident are the NSW players that a relaxed Paul Gallen spoke on Tuesday about how he no longer felt he had anything to prove and was just focused on doing his job while his teammates do theirs.
The decision to drop seasoned campaigners David Shillington and Ashley Harrison and hand Josh Papalii and Daly Cherry-Evans their Origin debuts is at odds with the loyalty usually displayed by the Maroons since their winning run began in 2006 and there are other cracks, too.
Queensland’s star players were well below their best at ANZ Stadium three weeks ago and while the likes of Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater are unlikely to have two poor Origins, the feeling in the NSW camp is that they are now a better team.
The Blues forwards, led by Gallen, now dominate the Australian pack and NSW also have the advantage on their bench through Andrew Fifita, Anthony Watmough and Trent Merrin.
Even NSW hooker Robbie Farah can lay claim to having overtaken Smith as the game’s best No.9 on their form this season.
The Blues have four of the NRL’s top six metre-eaters in Josh Dugan (189.7 metres a game), Gallen (175.8), Fifita (148) and Watmough (143.8). Queensland centre Greg Inglis (168.1) is third but he usually plays fullback for South Sydney, while Slater (142.8) is eighth.
With Matt Scott being their only specialist prop, it is hard to see how Queensland are going to get down the field besides the kicking game of Smith, Thurston and halfback Cooper Cronk.
But the kicking of the star trio will be affected if they don’t have good field position and it will limit their ability to test Blues winger Nathan Merritt under the high ball.
The Maroons are expected to target Merritt, who will make his Origin debut after Blake Ferguson was stood down from playing until he faces an indecent assault charge, as he is considered by some to be a defensive liability.
However, Suncorp Stadium holds no fears for the Rabbitohs winger as his 10 tries in eight matches there is the best strike rate by any player from an away team.
Only Slater has scored as many tries as an opposition player at Suncorp Stadium – but his 10 tries have come in 10 matches for Melbourne.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.Categories : 杭州龙凤