Blues brothers in arms ready to make history
WEARING sky blue on rugby league's toughest stage is an honour shared by brothers in arms over 100 games of triumph and defeat.
Preparing to potentially end Queensland's eight-year reign on Wednesday night, the New South Wales Blues have drawn on the history of the jersey and the growing will to win in their week of team talks.
Inspired by the determination not to concede in the 80th minute of Origin Game I, the team has bonded in success in Coffs Harbour, driven by the desire to finish the job on home soil in Sydney.
"Off the field these blokes are as tight as a bunch of blokes can be ... it may sound cliche, but it's true we share that brotherhood," Greg Bird said.
"I think its time we transfer that over to the paddock and bring this title back to New South Wales."
Will Hopoate says the honour of representing in Origin is one deserving of great personal peformance.
"I feel very humbled and excited, I'm just grateful to be part of it," Hopoate said.
"We have been able to create this brotherhood and I've enjoyed being around the boys."
With the team removed from the distractions of Sydney, the Coffs Harbour camps could well be the impetus behind a great turning point in Origin history.
"Coffs Harbour has brought the boys closer together, we are away from all the hype and we have just worried about ourselves and our performance," Trent Hodkinson said.
The players say the team's move north has lifted some of the off-field intensity of the week.
"We are in a different environment and it's a lot more relaxing so when we train we train, we switch on for rugby league and when we are away from that we just enjoy each others company," Aaron Woods said.
With the momentum building in camp the Blues say they are ready.
"I think our approach is going to be better in Game II, we have learnt a lot by going away and focussing and we hope to go out there on our home soil and bring it home," Trent Merrin said.
"We have built that bond that has been going for the last few years and (Coffs Harbour) is just making it stronger and it just proved in Game I how tight we are as a team and to bring that back home is going to be special."