"It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best'. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary."
That's the challenge for the NSW Blues tonight.
The Origin decider
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The Origin decider
NSW looks better on paper, but Queensland has the home ground advantage.
NSW players have always given their ''best'' - but over the past six years the ''team'' has fallen short of the mark.
Tonight, NSW need to find the togetherness and ''whatever-it-takes'' mentality to secure the victory they so desperately need. To win games of this magnitude, you need to play like you are the better team. Simple philosophy perhaps, but not always simple to execute.
Too often I've seen NSW teams so obsessed with containing the brilliance of their opponents, they forget about playing to their own strengths. Ascendancy in games has virtually been handed to Queensland through NSW's own fears of defeat. At times the Maroons were the only ones playing football, while the Blues were just doing their best to hang on.
In the second game of this series that over-cautious mindset changed significantly - and hopefully forever. Several aspects of that NSW victory, if built upon, can lead the Blues to the victory dais tonight for the first time since 2005.
Firstly, NSW played like they believed they were the better team. You've heard the saying ''Get your game on.'' Well, NSW players imposed themselves on the advantage line in both attack and defence from the opening whistle to get the game moving on their terms. They didn't hang back in wariness at how they might contain the Queensland surges; they attacked them.
I credit the emergence of front-rowers James Tamou and Tim Grant for this new-found aggression. These big, tall, fearless young lads were like a breath of fresh air for NSW. They totally changed the balance of power. Their efforts will again be crucial tonight.
Remember that in this same circumstance in Origin III last year, Queensland totally dominated the opening stages of that match and blew NSW off the park to lead 24-0 after the first 33 minutes. If you ignore history, you are doomed to repeat it.
Secondly, when Queensland did enjoy good periods during the match, as they will always do, not only did NSW's defensive structure look more composed in holding them, but when possession changed hands, the Blues players ignored the fatigue from an immense defensive workload to spark into immediate counter-attack of their own. Queensland have been so lethal at this over the years. This is where the true courage of Origin football is shown; not only to get up when you are hurt, but to play football when your body is screaming for a rest.
Finally, I was pleased the Origin II score was so close going right down to the full-time siren. It was vital for NSW that they prevailed in a pressure situation like this to achieve a badly needed victory. They can draw on this experience as a group and take that confidence with them as they get down to the championship rounds tonight. In game three, you should be ready to produce your best team performance of the series when the title is on the line. There are a couple of significant aspects of this year's campaign that have given the Blues every chance of being at their best tonight.
In 2010, Queensland used only 19 players to NSW's 30. Last year Queensland used 20 to NSW's 25. This year Queensland have again used only 20 players, but NSW have now used only 21.
Also, it is the first time the Blues have fielded the same players at fullback, five-eighth, halfback and hooker for all three games of the series, since 2003. You getting the picture? Stability develops combination. Combination produces confidence. Confidence is contagious.
Of course, none of the above would be possible without great leadership. I've watched how NSW coach Ricky Stuart has marshalled his troops for an assault on this title.
He has done an outstanding job.
Winston Churchill was a great leader. He also said, "When you are going through hell, keep going!"
The NSW Blues have been going through hell for the past six years.
Tonight they may just emerge from the nightmare.