NSW out to end six years of Origin torment
RUGBY LEAGUE: New South Wales get their chance to end six years of State or Origin torment in the rugby league series decider against Queensland in Brisbane on Wednesday.
Wednesday 4 July 2012, 02:01PM
The Blues have been dominated by the Maroons in the fierce Australian interstate series since 2006, but have their opportunity after winning the second game 16-12 in Sydney last month to take it to a decider.
Queensland, coached by Test great Mal Meninga, have won 14 of the 20 encounters since the Blues last won the Origin series in 2005 and NSW will have to dethrone the Maroons at their intimidating Lang Park citadel.
NSW have only prevailed twice before in a Brisbane decider, in 2005 and 1994, but the Blues believe the Maroons are under pressure before their expectant home fans.
"They're under just as much pressure as us. It is a big game in front of a huge crowd. There is a lot riding on it," assistant Blues coach Trent Barrett said.
"They have a lot of good players, but our defence has been good. We played very well in game two and we were pretty good in game one," he added.
Queensland will be without match-winning fullback Billy Slater in their Test-strength backline after he injured knee ligaments in the second game and will miss his first Origin game since 2008.
Meninga has shifted Greg Inglis from the centres to fullback, where he has been outstanding with his NRL club South Sydney this season.
"I'm buzzing out of my skin at the moment," Inglis said. "I'm ready for whatever they throw at me."
NSW have had injury concerns of their own with influential back-row forward Glenn Stewart withdrawing with a medial knee ligament he injured while playing for his Manly club two weeks ago.
Stewart, whose brother, Brett, is the NSW fullback, will be replaced by St George Illawarra's Beau Scott, who played in two of last year's three games.
The Blues will also be boosted by the return of Tony 'T-Rex' Williams on to the interchange bench where he is expected to make an impact during the game.
Queensland skipper Cameron Smith, who is lining up for his 27th Origin game, is expecting Wednesday's blockbuster to out-rival last year's series decider in Brisbane which was also the emotional farewell of his predecessor and Test skipper Darren Lockyer.
"We spoke about last year's decider (Lockyer's last game for Queensland) being the biggest game Origin has ever seen," Smith said. "But this one though is probably even bigger."
New South Wales coach Ricky Stuart believes last year's losing experience in Brisbane will help settle his players.
"It's hard going up there and playing against this mob," Stuart said.
"We got a lot of valuable experience from the guys who were involved in this game last year and that is an added bonus.
"We've had the advantage of knowing what is going to confront us. We'll be ready for it. Whether we're good enough is another thing."