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Eye of newt, toe of cane toad ... a recipe for Origin success

Raring to go: NSW at training this week.

Raring to go: NSW at training this week. Photo: Peter Rae

Fingers crossed. Loins girded. Lucky rabbit's foot stroked. Burnt offering left at the shrine to Gus Gould.

So here is why NSW can win State of Origin. Yes, the State of Origin against Queensland. Really.

1. Complaining ranks behind only Cane Toad racing, protesting against the imposition of daylight saving and staring into the distance on the list of popular Queensland pastimes. But, before this series, there has been a noticeable lack of whining from north of the Tweed. None of the usual "the NSW judiciary is out to get us" tin hat conspiracy theories. So if not motivated by the chippy self-righteousness of their eternal Little Brother Syndrome, where will the Maroons find inspiration in those ennervating final minutes? Apart from their vast collection of superstars, obviously.

The end is nigh: The Blues can wipe that smug look off the Cane Toads' faces and take a giant leap towards ending seven years bad luck on Wednesday night.

The end is nigh: The Blues can wipe that smug look off the Cane Toads' faces and take a giant leap towards ending seven years bad luck on Wednesday night. Photo: AFP

2. A coach with an easygoing nature and no top-flight experience. A man accused of being merely a public relations figurehead while others pull the strings. No, not Mal Meninga, but his old buddy Laurie Daley. Clearly, having a coach totally underestimated by the opposition has worked for the Maroons. No reason – other than little things like Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston – that the cunning Daley won't perform the same stunt for NSW.

3. For the purposes of State of Origin, Macksville is in Queensland, but Melbourne is in NSW – at least in the years when the Blues are supposed to host two games. But this year there will be two games in Sydney. Stunning, we know. Possibly in breach of the original SOO rules written in Joh Bjelke Petersen's private office. But an undeniable advantage for NSW.

4. The Queenslanders broke their usual routine and came to Sydney one day early. Traditionally, the greatest distraction for the Maroons in their sleepy camp is a particularly raucous game of euchre. But down south – with head-turning attractions such as late-opening bars, electrical lights and motorised carriages – some usually focused Maroons could lose their focus.

5. It is seven years bad luck for a broken mirror, right? In this case, the one shattered in the Blues' sheds after the series-clinching victory in 2005 as Anthony Minichiello and Brett Kimmorley fought over the hair gel. Sentence served, curse broken!

6. I'm tapping lightly on the keyboard in case the bloke from Mackay on the other side of the partition hears me. But, just maybe, NSW have the better team. The Blues' pack looks stronger, fresher and is, collectively, in better form. The Roosters' halves combination brings continuity and the bonus of James Maloney's sweet goalkicking boot. I'd go on, but the bloke from Mackay is on his feet, pointing at my screen and laughing uproariously.

7. Unlike Delta Goodrem albums, some records are not meant to be broken. No New South Welshman has ever been part of a team that has won eight consecutive Origin series (or even four, come to think of it). Greg Inglis has the chance to be the first. But, surely, that is too much even for the greatest player Queensland never produced.

8. The Blues are winning the mind games. The two minutes in which a deliberately misleading tweet made the world think John Sutton, not Josh Reynolds, had replaced Kurt Gidley on the Blues' bench have thrown Queensland's preparation into chaos. Surely, they won't be able to revise their tactics in time to counter this cunning ploy.

9. Meninga denies he tried to poach Blake Ferguson, claming his approach was just a little joke. So why were residents in Ferguson's home town, Wellington, fined for failing to vote in the Queensland elections? Meninga's inability to land NSW's new attacking weapon, despite these underhand tactics, stands as a turning point in the Origin battle.

10. Regardless of his form, fitness or – given a reported virus – health, Thurston is always expected to deliver come Origin time. However, with his wife Samantha due to give birth just days after the game, the great playmaker's thoughts will be on the delivery room. Expect a pregnant pause in the Queensland attack.

11. They talk about Queensland pride. Actually, they never shut up about it. But what about Blues pride? Take loyalists like James Tamou. Born in the rugby league mad town of Palmerston North, just south-east of Sydney. Learns about the rigours of representative footy playing for the Blues' feeder team, New Zealand Maori. Furthers his appreciation of NSW life – by moving to Townsville. Let the Queenslanders beat their chests, but you can't buy homegrown passion like that. Although you can rent it.

6 comments so far

  • When {if} we finally get around to winning a series, {perhaps when the current Qld team retire} can we please please please not throw the word 'dynasty' around? It's going to happen and it's going to be embarrassing. After seven years of having our arse handed to us on a platter we should know better. And please don't let them reach 10 years. Please?

    Date and time
    June 04, 2013, 6:16AM
    • What's the point anymore? NSW will never win 8 in a row. Ever ever. So whatever happens, they will always hold that over NSW. Even if we won 6, they would say so what we won 8. It was ok when it was 4 in a row each then the other side gets up, but this is meaningless now.

      Date and time
      June 04, 2013, 8:13AM
      •'ll be watching Adam Hills Tonight...Dean ???

        Date and time
        June 04, 2013, 10:52AM
    • Love the Points Richard! at this stage about 30 hours away form game 1 in the series NSWelsh folk are holding glasses half full of optimism, recount the many times in recorded history when the underdog gets up. Aussie's love an underdog because just occasionally.... they WIN! C'mon the blues lets start with game 1! Why not! Cooomon!!!

      Date and time
      June 04, 2013, 1:19PM
      •'s...Comooon !!!

        Date and time
        June 04, 2013, 7:21PM
    • Oi!! Hindsy. Who said you could use a picture of my brother for "The end is nigh" !!
      Maroons by 10. No, bugger it ... make that 14.

      Titanic Maroon
      Date and time
      June 04, 2013, 8:09PM

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