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Blues need to discover Maroons' killer attitude

Jarryd Hayne  is tackled by Josh McGuire.
Jarryd Hayne is tackled by Josh McGuire. Mark Kolbe

WE mentioned in the build-up that this year's State of Origin would be remembered as the "friendly" series. Someone forgot to tell them in Queensland.

The animosity and hostilities between these two great footy states and their fans lives on.

Here's the best example.

Blues legend Benny Elias caught a taxi from his hotel to Suncorp.

Halfway there the driver looked at the old hooker and said: "Are you Benny Elias?"

When he answered yes, the driver stopped and told him to get out. True story.

The great Steve Mortimer was in the back and confirmed it when we caught up at halftime.

The Maroons players turned up with the same killer attitude as the mad cabbie.

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It was a good old-fashioned rugby league ambush. The Maroons flogged us.

They led 12-0 at halftime but it could easily have been 24-0.

Unbelievably they did it without Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis, Darius Boyd, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker and Matt Scott from recent years.

Plus they brushed the premiership's form player and left Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans to watch it from his northern beaches home.

Yet they could still win. Unbelievable stuff.

For years we've been saying the Blues' turn would come. That the Maroons' dominance wouldn't or couldn't go on forever. This was supposed to be our turn. But it wasn't.

At halftime we started the post mortem.

I went and saw Mortimer in the NRL suite.

"I'm pissed off," he said. "Not about the taxi ride but the way we're playing.

"I'm really pissed off. Queensland keep probing and probing. We're not going forward. It's terrible. Where's out kicking game."

Brett Morris caught by the Maroons' defence.
Brett Morris caught by the Maroons' defence. DAVE HUNT

So where did it go wrong.

Nathan Peats. He's a strong and steady hooker but not an Origin player.

He lacks creativity and flair and the nous to pick the moment when to squirt from dummy-half.

The first-half defence was terrible. We missed 11 tackles to their two.

Mitchell Pearce struggled as chief playmaker.

His kicking game was poor. The ball went almost straight down Billy Slater's throat whenever it left Pearce's boot late in the tackle count.

Andrew Fifita, for all he did in game one, wasn't sighted in game two or again in the decider.

The whole team struggled. Too many handling errors, missed tackles and missed opportunities all around.

The guys we were hoping would deliver, like Jarryd Hayne, didn't.

Two years ago I sat in the NSW coaching box at Suncorp Stadium when Laurie Daley's Blues were annihilated 52-6. I thought he might quit.

You've never seen a more shattered figure. Stunned and silenced.

The complete picture of devastation, surrounded by his coaching staff, adviser Bob Fulton and an injured Robbie Farah who watched from the box.

This match was much the same although even more disappointing.

On paper they had no right to beat us as convincingly as the scoreboard showed.

Topics:  maroons queensland sportopinion state of origin 2017

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