LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Cameron Smith lays down the law to his Maroons teammates.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Cameron Smith lays down the law to his Maroons teammates. Bradley Kanaris

Smith chasing his crowning glory in Origin arena

CAMERON Smith says a Queensland series win would be the most memorable of his career given the challenges the Maroons have faced this series.

Queensland faces its greatest test since 2006 - the year it was staring down the barrel of four consecutive series defeats - after starting the process of generational change following a game one drubbing.

The Maroons line up tonight with history on their side, having won 12 of the 18 deciders in history.

But Smith knows that alone is no guarantee and his team will have to beat the Blues at their own game and at least break even in the middle of the field if they are to walk away with a memorable win.

"We were convincingly beaten in the middle (in) game one, and maybe for half, or three-quarters, we were beaten gain in game two in Sydney," Smith said.

"It's a huge challenge. You look at the guys in the Blues jerseys playing in the middle there and they're very good players and they've been involved in elite rugby league for a very long time now.

"They've got some good numbers as far as club level goes and they're hardened, seasoned footballers.

"We've got a couple of young faces in our squad. But if we play well and put in an 80-minute performance, then we can get a victory."

Smith feels the Maroons have not yet put in a consistent effort for a full game this series.

Given the injured players missing and mass changes after game one, it's hardly surprising.

But it's the challenge facing a team that will field another pair of debutants, as well a key player in Billy Slater under an injury cloud.

"That's the challenge for our footy side," Smith said.

"One, you're playing against a good footy side, and two, we need to look in our own backyard and put in an 80-minute performance.

"I'm confident in our forwards going out and playing well and getting the job done for our outside backs to give them the opportunity to put points on the board.

"We believe that we've prepared well, we've got the game plan to play well and if everyone goes out and does that, they play their best footy, then we're a really good chance of winning the game.

"Over the two matches we're far from our best performance, there's no doubt about that, but we still managed a victory in Sydney and that was just through effort, through determination, and that's going to be needed again (tonight)."

If Queensland can overcome its rival and Smith is to lift the shield tonight, he said it would be one of the most special moments of his career.

"It'd be the most satisfying, I reckon, no doubt about that given the injuries we've had the and the personnel that are unavailable," he said.

"(Greg) Inglis, (Matt) Scott, Darius (Boyd) for this game, JT (Thurston) for two of the games - there's a lot of guys there with a lot of talent and a lot of experience at this level.

"So it'd be pretty satisfying but we're not at all getting ahead of ourselves and thinking about how good it would be to win the series, we know there's a lot of hard work in front of us to be at that point at the 80th minute to be ahead on the scoreboard.

"Our focus is purely on making sure that we deliver an 80-minute performance because we haven't done that thus far this series.

"I think we owe that to our fans and everyone in Queensland."

News Corp Australia


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