STORY: Gallen happy to be Maroons’ target
STORY: Meninga unmasks anger at Myles’ promotion
HISTORY will not be on the Blues’ side when they run out onto Suncorp Stadium tonight attempting to win their first State of Origin series since 2005.
Seven times they have headed to Brisbane with a 1-nil series lead, yet only once have they walked away victorious.
In fact, of the 16 games that have been played in Queensland with the series on the line, NSW have won just three.
Despite the dire record, NSW say all the pressure is on Queensland to extend Origin’s greatest dynasty heading into tonight’s game.
And as far as the Maroons are concerned, that’s fine by them.
“We’re up against a very committed Blues side who’ve come here to do a job on us,” Meninga said on match eve.
Social media coverage of State of Origin II
“A team that wants to go 2-nil up and celebrate all their success when they go back down south for game three.
“We’ve got our backs against the wall, and sometimes that’s the way we like it.”
But the Blues are convinced the Maroons are feeling the pinch heading into the must-win encounter.
They point to the abandonment of Queensland’s pick-and-stick policy and the appeal for a fairer go from the referees as evidence of a group feeling the heat.
“There’s definitely more pressure on them than there has been in the past,” Blues skipper Paul Gallen said.
“We haven’t gone 1-0 in a series since 2008.
“And it’s a different team now. We seem to be a little bit more confident.
“They certainly have got a little bit more pressure on them, and you see it by their changes to their side.”
But capitalising on that pressure has not been a strong suit of the Blues, particularly at Suncorp Stadium.
It’s why Meninga says the Maroons aren’t too concerned about the pressure being applied on his side, especially with seasoned campaigners Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and a fit-again Johnathan Thurston calling the shots.
‘‘They’ve won twice in game one before [during the current seven-year winning streak] and we’ve handled the pressure,’’ Meninga said.
‘‘Six times we’ve gone one-all … [having] to win the third game. That’s pressure, and I think we’ve handled that really well.’’
Pressure aside, Meninga knows what the Maroons dished up in game one won’t be good enough to get the job done tonight, no matter the brilliant record they have at their spiritual home.
‘‘We know we have to do better; we know we have to play better,’’ Meninga said.
‘‘All the little things that make up a rugby league game we’ve got to do better. We have to execute that now.’’
Meninga launched a charm offensive yesterday after the NSW camp accused Queensland of trying to influence the referees before game two.
‘‘We are nice guys, that’s the way we like it.
‘‘We are honest. You can trust us.
‘‘All those nice quantities make up a Queenslander.
‘‘We like to win the fairest way.’’
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