Maroons feeling the pressure, says Shillo
David Shillington of the Maroons is tackled during game two of the State of Origin at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Photo: Getty Images
Queensland's six-year State of Origin reign has never been under more pressure, boom forward David Shillington believes.
The powerhouse Canberra prop, who charged for 157 metres in a mighty effort off the bench in Wednesday night's 16-12 loss at ANZ Stadium, said he expected Queensland to be the underdog in the July 4 decider at Suncorp Stadium.
Shillington was still confident Queensland would extend its Origin dominance to a seventh series win, but admitted the Blues' intensity had unsettled them, resulting in 13 errors on the night.
When asked if this was the most pressure this current Queensland team had felt since its dominance began in 2006, Shillington said: ''It probably is … the desperation and passion they showed was great.
''I think the intensity New South Wales showed, they were fantastic. They all played so aggressively. They were sprinting off the line and [were] up in your face.
''We copped a lot of head highs and shoulder charges. I just had to do my best to deflect it and keep trying to get the team forward.''
Maroons teammate Ashley Harrison agreed the errors hamstrung Mal Meninga's men, but said their problems went deeper than that.
''I think that's part of the problem. You've still got to execute on the night,'' he said.
''We just turned over a bit too much footy and when we had some good footy at them we turned it over. In the past we've been taking those opportunities when they've arisen.''
Shillington also admitted the inexperienced Blues pack, including Origin greenhorns James Tamou and Tim Grant, had outpointed the Maroons so far this series.
The forwards dominance has been central to Queensland's unprecedented six straight series wins but despite boasting Test stars Matt Scott, Dave Taylor, Shillington and Ben Hannant, it has struggled to match it with the Paul Gallen-led Blues.
''It's been interesting. We've been going toe-to-toe with them I think,'' Shillington said.
''They sort of got it over us in game one, but I think [Wednesday night] was a nice even battle. It's so important the forward battle, so we'll keep working hard on it.''
But despite coming off a loss and attempting to claim underdog status, Shillington was confident Queensland would seal the series at Suncorp - just as it did last year when beaten at ANZ Stadium in game two. ''I wouldn't say we're on top in this series. We'll probably go into game three as underdogs to be honest,'' he said.
'' [Last year] the boys managed to fight back in game three. Hopefully it's the same case.
''We need to fix [the errors] up, complete our sets, build pressure and we'll be right. When we had 13 players on the field they only scored four points on us.
''We built pressure with repeat sets and on one side you look at how well NSW defended and they did defend well, but if we do that for 80 minutes next game we'll get the better of them.'' AAP