New South Wales are 80 minutes away from a first series victory in eight years after their 14-6 win in Game I, and coach Laurie Daley says the pressure on their Queensland rivals is showing.
Daley said, ”They’ve made changes, which they haven’t done in the past.
”They’ve always had that ‘pick and stick’ philosophy. They lose a game, under pressure, all of a sudden they make some changes. Interesting. Very interesting.”
While the Blues camp is clearly in confident mood, they will have to overcome some horrific statistics when they step on to Queensland territory on Wednesday.
Only six current NSW players – Paul Gallen, Greg Bird, Ryan Hoffman (all 2007), Anthony Watmough, Josh Morris and Michael Jennings (all 2009) – have won an Origin game at Suncorp Stadium, and each of them have done so only once.
Gallen, the NSW and Cronulla captain, has won there just twice in 13 matches at club, Origin and Test level, and his only other victory there was with Australia.
In comparison, the Maroons current squad have won 70 Origin matches between them on their home soil; skipper Cameron Smith has been victorious in 10 of the 13 times he has played for Queensland at Suncorp.
Smith has also been talking ahead of Wednesday’s showdown, claiming his side were not mentally up to scratch in Game I due to falling into the trap of believing their own press.
He said, ”Everyone’s attitude was that we’ve got a great side, we’ve got some great players involved, let’s just get out there and dip the toe a bit and see how these blokes are going to respond.
“To the Blues’ credit, they responded in the best way and gave it to us for the first 40 minutes. it was a reality check for the boys.”
The answer to whether the Maroons are feeling the pressure or were simply taking it too easy in Game I will be known as soon as kick-off is caught on Wednesday – in what is building to be the most anticipated Origin game in recent years.