New South Wales coach Laurie Daley has acknowledged that the Queensland side still has the ability to inspire fear, despite their advancing collective age.
Although the Blues finally ended a long reign of glory for the Maroons when they won last year’s series, Daley thinks that Queensland have lost none of their sharpness.
“We all fear Queensland,” the NSW Wales coach told Australian media, ahead of Wednesday’s Origin I at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
“We fear Queensland every time a State of Origin game is played, regardless of who’s in it, because they have pulled off some of the most remarkable victories in State of Origin history when no one has given them a chance.
“Queensland have shown – and in particular some of the guys that are on the other side of 30 – that they’re champions. And if you kick a champion while they’re down, they’ll always come back and bite you.”
Daley believes that the key to claiming glory in this year’s series is to improve the Blues’ defence.
“We have to set a better defensive qualities,” he added.
“Last year while we defended so well, we need to be better in that area. Queensland have a great attacking team, they really challenge you all over the back. Defensively we’ve got to be on song.
“We know Queensland are a very good team. We need to go to a new level to what we did last year. It’s going to be a tough game of footy.”