Captains run Sydney
Captains run Sydney

One word that can inspire Maroons to greatness

MAROONS legends have weighed in on how Queensland can win tonight's epic Origin decider - and their words of wisdom share a common theme.

Queensland may have lost some of the greatest players to ever pull on a Maroons jersey, but it hasn't lost the belief.

And when it comes to going the distance, the Maroons definitely have the edge over NSW, winning 13 of the 19 series that have come down to Game Three.

Ahead of tonight's epic decider, The Courier-Mail has brought together some of our finest players to share their words of wisdom for this year's Maroons squad.

And the underlying theme from each former player is simple: desire.

Queensland is big on wearing the Maroon jersey with pride and playing for your mate, playing for your state.

Darren Lockyer
Darren Lockyer

 

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith

"It's all about desire, simple as that," 36-game Maroons veteran Darren Lockyer said.

"Every Origin game is won on desire, but deciders are won between the ears.

"Do the Maroons have the mental steel to want it more than the opposition and conjure a boilover on NSW soil?

"That's the big question Kevin Walters' troops must answer."

Walters was bursting with confidence about this new era of Maroons stars when he spoke in the lead-up to tonight's kick-off.

He said that even without the likes of legendary players Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater, Queensland was still in with a chance tonight.

"We've been excellent," Walters said of the new-look Maroons.

"It's one-all going in to a decider when this time last year we were two-nil down.

"Game Three, we managed to win last year and then we managed to win Game One this year.

"That gives the side a lot of belief in what they can achieve at an Origin level.

"I've been talking all through this series about the belief that this side has in each other."

Queensland's most capped player, Cameron Smith, having played 42 Origin clashes for his beloved state, said the current crop of stars needed to have the right attitude going in to tonight's massive game.

Maroons including Joe Ofahengaue and Ben Hunt (left and right centre) form a huddle with teammates during the Captain's Run at ANZ Stadium yesterday. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Maroons including Joe Ofahengaue and Ben Hunt (left and right centre) form a huddle with teammates during the Captain's Run at ANZ Stadium yesterday. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

"Let's not be confused about this - they are going into the toughest environment in a decider against NSW in Sydney in front of a packed house," Smith said.

"It is a massive challenge for these guys, but I think they have the players to do it.

"If they come with the right attitude - which is the attitude they had in the second 40 minutes of Game One - then there is every possibility that they can win this match."

Former Queensland maestro Cooper Cronk, who sealed the 2012 Game Three decider with a field goal, said the game would come down to two men: Cameron Munster and debutant Corey Norman.

"I think the move is a good thing having Munster at fullback," Cronk said.

"If I was Kevvie Walters, I wouldn't be telling him to overthink it, or over coach it too much.

"(Norman) is Queensland's answer to (NSW's halfback James) Maloney.

"He's going to see things and he's going to try things."

NSW's woeful record of just four wins in 19 Game Three deciders clearly has Blues coach Brad Fittler on edge.

"You learn to win and you get used to it and you get better at it," Fittler said at the weekend.

"Queensland has had some really good footy teams.

"They kept winning those games and their footy team got better and better.

"There were seven through that period when they won all those series.

"That's a big chunk.

"There was a lot at the start of Origin as well."

 

BRUISE BROTHERS VOW TO CREATE HISTORY

 

THESE are the "Bruise Brothers" tasked with taking down the "Blue Wall" in tonight's Origin decider at ANZ Stadium and they've drawn inspiration from some of Queensland's past heroes.

Joe Ofahengaue, Christian Welch and Felise Kaufusi, along with the rest of the playing group, pulled on the commemorative 1919 Queensland jersey before yesterday's captain's run in a nod to the Maroons' past and former legends of the game.

One such former great, Duncan Thompson, epitomised the Queensland passion of pulling on the Maroon jersey.

In 1918, aged just 23 at the time, Thompson was shot through the right lung on a French battlefield and told he would never play sport again.

In 1919, he captained Queensland in two interstate clashes with New South Wales.

Joe Ofahengaue, Christian Welch and Felise Kaufusi at ANZ Stadium. Picture: AAP/Dean Lewins
Joe Ofahengaue, Christian Welch and Felise Kaufusi at ANZ Stadium. Picture: AAP/Dean Lewins

One hundred years on and this year's Queensland side is preparing to draw on the heroics of the past to create a new dynasty for the future.

The Maroons' forwards were criticised for their performance in their Game Two loss in Perth, but are planning to make amends tonight.

Ofahengaue, who makes his return from a serious knee gash, said Queensland always played for the pride of the state and he was prepared to put his body on the line.

"I've watched Origin all my life and just to see how Queensland play, they all turn up for each other," Ofahengaue said.

"If Game Two didn't motivate any of us, we shouldn't be here. It's more just go out there and prove to each other we can be that team we were in Game One."