This is it: the NSW Blues’ chance to win back the Origin title and claim bragging rights for the next year. No pressure, guys!
Tonight’s decider will be a tight game, but there’s one big factor swinging in the Blues’ – the hometown advantage and a sea of supporters.
NSW is desperate to finally break the drought and end Queensland’s seven-year dominance of Origin.
Injuries to captain Paul Gallen and fullback Jarryd Hayne have left the Blues short of experienced heads for the decider, but they still have plenty of firepower, most notably in the form of Sharks danger man Andrew Fifita. Watch Fifita take it to the Maroons in Gallen’s abstinence.
The injured captain handed out the jerseys to the 17-man squad last night, delivering a short yet powerful speech on the importance of the game, urging an end to Queensland’s reign. Gallen spoke proudly of how coach Laurie Daley phoned him on Saturday morning, ordering him back to the training camp, close to the team. “He … wanted me to be a part of the coaching staff. He wanted me around the boys.”
History may be on the Blues’ side. The Maroons have a woeful record at ANZ Stadium winning five of 20 games. Or maybe it isn’t… in terms of deciding games at ANZ (there’ve been three) honours are even, with one draw. – Blake Moretti
Photo taken from the NSW Blues FaceBook page.