Michael Ennis: Blues must learn from loss
DRIVEN by the hurt and anguish they have felt in the past three weeks, the Blues will be ready to right the wrongs tonight in Brisbane.
I think it's the first time in such a long time that the Blues have looked the better side for the majority of the series.
Again the juggernaut that is Queensland just found a way in that second game. The Maroons know how to win games.
We saw that unravel in the space of 20 minutes in Sydney in front of about 80,000 NSW supporters.
After 40 minutes I thought "wow, that first game wasn't a fluke, we really have turned the tide".
And then, sure enough, Queensland turned the screws and said, "there's a series on your hands here".
It's all set up for a blockbuster, an absolute belter at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
For NSW, it's not about dwelling on the things you didn't do well.
Yes, they need to address that. But I think the players in the days after that loss reflected and realised where it all went wrong for them.
They would draw so much confidence from that opening 50 minutes of game two.
And what would excite them even more is that their best 80-minute performance was at Suncorp.
There's been a lot of talk out of the Blues camp about how happy they were to be going back into camp at Kingscliff - a nice little sleepy part of the world.
NSW has been very fortunate to keep its same team on the park. The players are all in their groove now, accustomed and ready to go.
It's almost a role reversal.
I remember the Origins I played in we just had changes after changes. The Queensland team was just one to 17. At worst, they might have picked up one injury through the series
But Billy Slater's battling an ankle injury, and there's of course no Darius Boyd and no Johnathan Thurston.
When you come out on to the field and you don't see the little master in his headgear, instantly you lift.
Cooper Cronk is wonderful at executing a game plan and has a tremendous kicking game but when the big decisions are to be made in terms of creativity it will come from Cameron Smith and Thurston.
All that pressure to mastermind an assault on NSW now comes on to Smith.
But, without a doubt, some of the Blues' big names really need to lift.
Game one man of the match Andrew Fifita was well contained in that second game.
The Maroons had a lot of line speed and energy defensively when Fifita was carrying the football, and that really limited his opportunities.
James Maloney loves the big occasion. He's been very successful on grand final day and played well in Test matches for Australia.
He will be far more dominant in those dying stages tonight than he was at the back end of game two.
Then there's Jarryd Hayne. He came up with a few blunders late in Sydney, and he's one of those individuals who would've found the past three weeks extremely difficult waiting to turn the tables on his previous performance.
I'm really looking forward to seeing what Jarryd delivers.
They all say that Hayne is a big-game player. He needs to be a huge game player tonight.
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