MORE OF THE SAME PLEASE: Queensland ‘s Billy Slater makes a break in the first game of the State of Origin series at Brisbane’s Sucorp Stadium on May 28.
MORE OF THE SAME PLEASE: Queensland ‘s Billy Slater makes a break in the first game of the State of Origin series at Brisbane’s Sucorp Stadium on May 28. DAN Peledaap

Moore backs our Queensland boys to equalise

THE stench of optimism has wafted from south of the border ahead of Origin II on Wednesday, but Queensland legend Billy Moore is having none of it.

As a result of the Maroons' disrupted build-up on the back of a potentially crippling injury toll, many from south of the border - and some Queenslanders too - are confidently predicting an end to the Maroons' eight-year Origin dynasty.

But the man who championed the "Queenslander" call reckons the doubters should take a deep breath.

If anyone knows how to overcome adversity it is Moore.

In 1995, in the midst of the Super League war, he led a team of largely unknown players to a 3-0 State of Origin clean sweep against a superstar Blues outfit.

"Character is born out of tough times and not when everything is going good, and 1995 was an exact example of that," Moore said.

"We should have been beaten 3-0 and the exact opposite happened.

"We all know what Queensland's character is about and that is standing up for your mate and making the most of a bad situation, and this is one of those situations."

Queensland is yet to settle on its top 17 players, with star Manly half Daly Cherry-Evans still in doubt.

Corey Parker and Josh Papalli have withdrawn due to injury.

Should Cherry-Evans fail to overcome a knee injury, Broncos No.7 Ben Hunt will debut in the halves alongside John-athan Thurston.

Greg Inglis and Billy Slater have declared themselves fit to play - a major boost for the Mar-oons - and Sam Thaiday comes back into the starting side after missing game one through injury.

"Any side that contains Greg Inglis, Cam Smith, Billy Slater, Justin Hodges, Matt Scott and Sam Thaiday is a bloody good side," Moore said.

"The attitude by the Queensland team led by Mal (Meninga) and Cam Smith will be positive."

After dominating the Origin arena for eight years, Queensland showed in game one that even champion sides have an off night.

Cooper Cronk breaking his arm in the first 10 minutes threw a major spanner in the works, and Cherry-Evans failed to find any real rhythm after a preparation that had focused on his interchange roles as hooker and in the back row.

"They will play more consistent and losing Cronk so early threw them out a little bit, but that won't happen in game two," Moore said, adding he had every confidence the Maroons would win in Sydney to send the series to a decider.

"It is not ideal for us at the moment, but I am confident if we play our best then that will be good enough to win.

"We didn't play well in game one so we have to play 100% to win, especially against 85,000 crazy New South Welshman.

"No one wants to be a part of the Queensland team that ended the winning streak."

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