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Blues ready to emerge from a six-year nightmare

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The Origin decider

NSW looks better on paper, but Queensland has the home ground advantage.

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"It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best'. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary."
Winston Churchill

That's the challenge for the NSW Blues tonight.

NSW players have always given their ''best'' - but over the past six years the ''team'' has fallen short of the mark.

Been through hell ... the NSW Blues may just emerge from their nightmare.

Been through hell ... the NSW Blues may just emerge from their nightmare. Photo: Getty Images

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.

Related Coverage

The Origin decider (Thumbnail) The Origin decider

NSW looks better on paper, but Queensland has the home ground advantage.

Queensland happy with underdog role for decider

Write us off at your own peril. That's the message from in and around the Queensland camp ahead of tonight's State of Origin decider as the Maroons prepare to ''upset'' the Blues at Suncorp Stadium. NSW legends, officials, players and fans alike have been touting the decider as the biggest match in Origin history and on numerous occasions have stated the Blues finally have the Maroons' measure. While Mal Meninga's men have remained silent, all the criticism hasn't gone unnoticed by the team and they have been privately preparing to set the record straight in front of their home crowd and claim a seventh consecutive series. ''You'd think we were the underdogs,'' a source close to Camp Canetoad said. ''NSW finally look to have their house in order and are here to play, so we'll happily let them go into the match as favourites. By the sounds of it, they've already got it won." Bookmakers at

Big Mal fired up … and that's just at the media

Upon learning that Mal Meninga would hold a press conference at Suncorp Stadium yesterday, the next question seemed obvious. Would there also be an opportunity to talk to the Queensland coach?

Game on for the Blue believers

It is the pretension of modern sport to consider the latest the greatest. Thus, reflexively, tonight's State of Origin decider has been declared the most significant in the 32-year history of a tumultuous, engaging, always bruising contest.

We won't be overawed, Stuart says

NSW coach Ricky Stuart has declared that the Blues will not be intimidated by their Queensland opponents or the hostile atmosphere at Suncorp Stadium for tonight's series decider.

Mal content, even with legacy on the line

For a man the newly optimistic souls of NSW firmly believe is presiding over the last remnants of a crumbling empire, Malcolm Norman Meninga is striding to oblivion in remarkably good spirits.

NSW supporters blue over lack of tickets for Origin decider

There wasn't a Blues supporter in sight when Big Artie Beetson's statue was officially unveiled before a euphoric Maroon mob in Brisbane yesterday. Not because New South Wales fans wouldn't have liked to be here, en masse, for the build-up to tonight's Origin decider - but because bulk ticketing restrictions at Suncorp Stadium have effectively locked them out.

Pray Blues can scratch their seven-year itch

What if we lose? No, seriously, what if we lose? We meaning NSW, since the push for the Blues to win the series-deciding State of Origin III and stop the Queensland rot is so strong it's like everyone on this side of the border is involved - or at least meant to be.

Both sides need to get creative to seal victory

There is absolutely nothing between NSW and Queensland. The series is locked at one win each after two games. The overall score is 30 points to Queensland, 26 to NSW. Each team has scored five tries with only better goal-kicking from the Maroons giving them their extra four points.

Related Coverage

HuffPost Australia

NRL Season 2015

Round 1
Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6vs SOU 36 Report Stats
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 42vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4vs SYD 28 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 24vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
STG 4vs MEL 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBY 32vs PAR 12 Report Stats
CRO 2vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
NQL 14vs NEW 16 Report Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 34vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
Mon, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST 22vs STG 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN 12vs CBY 16 Report Stats
BRI 44vs NQL 22 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 29vs PAR 16 Report Stats
CBR 20vs STG 22 Report Stats
MEL 36vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 20vs WST 6 Report Stats
GCT 18vs NEW 20 Report Stats
Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 20vs PEN 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 29vs SOU 16 Report Stats
WST 24vs CBY 25 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 26vs PEN 14 Report Stats
CRO 22vs GCT 24 Report Stats
STG 12vs MAN 4 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 16vs BRI 24 Report Stats
SYD 34vs CBR 6 Report Stats
Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL 18vs MEL 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
CBY 17vs SOU 18 Report Stats
GCT 16vs BRI 26 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MAN 16vs CBR 29 Report Stats
NEW 0vs STG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 12vs CRO 20 Report Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 6vs WST 22 Report Stats
MEL 30vs NZW 14 Report Stats
PEN 10vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 22vs SYD 18 Report Stats
CRO 22vs NEW 6 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 16vs GCT 38 Report Stats
NZW 32vs WST 22 Report Stats
PEN 22vs MAN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CBR 10vs MEL 14 Report Stats
STG 31vs CBY 6 Report Stats
Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
GCT 32vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17vs SYD 16 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
WST 22vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO 18vs SOU 10 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 14vs WST 38 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs GCT 32 Report Stats
NEW 24vs NQL 26 Report Stats
SYD 12vs STG 14 Report Stats
MEL 10vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28vs PAR 16 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN 26vs CRO 18 Stats
SOU 22vs CBR 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs PEN 5 Report Stats
SYD 36vs WST 4 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 56vs GCT 16 Stats
CRO 16vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs NEW 10 Stats
PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 16vs STG 10 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY 10vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31vs BRI 20 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR 13vs NZW 17 Report Stats
GCT 22vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG 32vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 14vs PAR 12 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
WST 0vs NQL 8 Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW 18vs BRI 31 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs PAR 26 Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT 16vs SOU 22 Report Stats
CBR 12vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18vs MAN 14 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW 24vs NEW 20 Stats
STG 42vs CRO 6 Stats
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs MEL 2 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs MAN 10 Report Stats
WST 20vs GCT 27 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 22vs CBR 44 Stats
SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
PEN 0vs MEL 20 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO 10vs SYD 4 Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 29vs STG 16 Stats
PAR 30vs NQL 36 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST 34vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 21vs SYD 25 Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBY 14 Stats
Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 22vs PAR 26 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs WST 20 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs NQL 21 Report Stats
GCT 14vs NZW 36 Report Stats
CBY 24vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 28vs CRO 30 Report Stats
MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG 14vs SYD 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
SOU 20vs MAN 8 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 20vs GCT 10 Stats
WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 20vs MEL 4 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG 12vs NQL 18 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST 16vs PAR 28 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 4vs SYD 24 Stats
CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs CRO 21 Report Stats
NEW 30vs GCT 2 Report Stats
STG 8vs SOU 24 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs NZW 0 Report Stats
BRI 42vs WST 16 Stats
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI 34vs GCT 0 Report Stats
WST 8vs SYD 33 Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
MEL 22vs STG 4 Stats
SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 24vs CBR 34 Report Stats
CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL 46vs PAR 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 38vs CBY 28 Report Stats
WST 34vs MEL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 14vs CRO 18 Stats
NQL 32vs CBR 24 Stats
MAN 44vs BRI 14 Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 46vs NEW 24 Stats
SOU 20vs PEN 16 Report Stats
Mon, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 24vs PAR 14 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 16vs CBY 18 Report Stats
MAN 28vs SOU 8 Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 0vs STG 36 Stats
CRO 30vs NQL 18 Stats
PAR 10vs PEN 4 Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
NEW 22vs SYD 38 Report Stats
Mon, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 18vs WST 20 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
NQL 18vs SOU 31 Stats
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 32vs STG 6 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 18vs NEW 24 Stats
PEN 24vs NZW 10 Stats
SYD 28vs PAR 18 Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 24vs MAN 26 Stats
CBY 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
Mon, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 2vs MEL 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 19vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 18vs CBY 32 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 40vs WST 18 Report Stats
NZW 16vs NQL 50 Report Stats
SYD 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBR 12 Stats
MAN 16vs PAR 20 Report Stats
Mon, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 6vs NEW 20 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs BRI 47 Report Stats
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs SYD 46 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR 28vs CRO 35 Stats
NEW 18vs CBY 20 Stats
MEL 14vs NQL 6 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 50vs NZW 16 Report Stats
GCT 28vs STG 26 Stats
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs PEN 18 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs MEL 15 Report Stats
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 30vs SOU 0 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
PEN ($2.45)vs NEW ($1.57) 15:00Pepp
STG ($1.80)vs WST ($2.05) 17:30ANZ
NQL ($1.17)vs GCT ($5.40) 19:301300
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR ($1.60)vs CBR ($2.40) 14:00Pirtek
CRO ($1.45)vs MAN ($2.80) 16:00Rem
CBY ($1.08)vs NZW ($8.00) 18:30ANZ
View All Fixtures
NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D Pts
Sydney Roosters 24 18 6 0 40
Brisbane Broncos 24 17 7 0 38
North Queensland Cowboys 23 16 7 0 36
Melbourne Storm 24 14 10 0 32
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 23 14 9 0 32
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 23 13 10 0 30
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 13 11 0 30
St George-Illawarra Dragons 23 11 12 0 26
View all
 

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