Queensland caused an upset last year when they defeated New South Wales in the State of Origin series decider. While there was much talk about the punches thrown and the concussions in the opening minutes, NSW were left to rue their inability to play a good game of football. Here are five lessons the Blues must learn if they hope to start the series off with a win:
Lesson 1: Don’t Get Bullied
Queensland bashed Matt Burton out of the game in the series decider. His team was caught off guard and weren’t able to find their feet. Liam Martin admitted that the team failed to stand up for themselves as a forward pack. Greg Alexander, Brad Fittler‘s adviser, thinks that recent discussions surrounding NSW’s aggression have been blown out of proportion, and their pack is fierce. Will the debut of firebrands panic or empower the Blues?
Lesson 2: Don’t Let Them Broaden The Field
Queensland used a particular tactic last year where they worked the ball from their own end and shifted the ball wide to ease the pressure. NSW must be aware of this play, and Andrew Johns believes that they should also employ this strategy. Junior Paulo believes that every player must win their individual battle in the field.
Lesson 3: Employ the Early Kick
Queensland worked NSW’s forwards by employing several early kicks in the decider, which turned them around and allowed Queensland to scratch out a victory. Nathan Cleary and NSW must be more proactive in this area.
Lesson 4: Bang Down the Front Door
Lesson 5: Keep Calm Amid the Inferno
NSW needs to hang onto the ball. Last year, the Blues made too many mistakes in the second half, which led to a poor completion rate. Queensland capitalised on these opportunities, which was the key reason for their win. Paulo believes that NSW need to keep possession to take the advantage.