Qld calm ahead of Origin clash
QUEENSLAND have soaked up the lessons of the past as they aim to create history in State of Origin II in Sydney next Wednesday.
The Queensland squad appeared relaxed and confident as they were pushed hard by trainer Billy Johnstone in a fitness session in front of thousands of fans at North Ipswich Reserve yesterday.
The confidence is justified, given the settled nature of the team and its recent dominance over NSW.
“It's good to have the same bunch of players,” towering Maroons winger Israel Folau said after the Ipswich training run.
“It really helps.
“We know how each other plays.”
Folau let out a sigh of relief in Origin I when his opposite winger, Jarrod Hayne, had a try disallowed in the first half.
Despite that, he hasn't wasted time stressing about what Hayne might do next week.
“I'm not really worried about him,” Folau said.
“I'm just thinking about myself and what I have to do to have my best game.”
That attitude is mirrored throughout the Queensland camp.
“We don't care what they're doing in camp of what their tactics are,” Folau said.
It was confident talk but Folau said there was no chance of over confidence. If they win, the Maroons will be the first side from either state to have won four straight Origin series.
“We know there is the chance to win four straight (series) but we're not worried about that,” Folau said.
The former Goodna junior's eyes light up however, when asked how it will feel if Queensland can pull it off.
“I thought of that last year when we had the opportunity to win three in a row,” he said.
“It was something special.
“Now we're in the same position again and could do something even more special with four straight.”
Queensland assistant coach and Ipswich legend Allan Langer admits four in a row was too much for the team he played in that won three straight Origin series in the late 1980s.
“Looking back when we were going for four in a row we were a bit complacent,” Langer said.
He believes coach Mal Meninga, who was twice involved in teams that won three straight series, will ensure it doesn't happen to the current crop and Folau agrees.
“I don't think there is any complacency in our side,” Folau said. “It has been a really hard week for us.”
If Folau's words are any guide there is no risk of the Maroons giving anything other than their best.
“I realise how lucky I am if it happens to be,” he said.
“I will cherish it for the rest of my life.”