Attack will be the best form of defence for Queensland in State of Origin game three after the Maroons vowed to come out swinging in a bid to avoid suffering their first series whitewash in 21 years.
Captain Daly Cherry-Evans admitted the Maroons still had plenty of work to do on their defence after NSW’s scoring juggernaut won the first two games with a remarkable 76-6 aggregate.
But Cherry-Evans believed their attack may prove the key to an Origin III upset.
The Maroons playmaker said a fast start was crucial and, armed with a backline boasting debutant speedster Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, was keen to finally put some scoreboard pressure on the Blues in Wednesday’s dead rubber.
“They (NSW) have definitely played a really great style of footy, one that defensively we probably haven’t quite got right on how to stop it,” Cherry-Evans said.
“They have put the scoreboard pressure on us throughout the series, we’ve never been ahead at any point.
“Naturally that is going to have an impact on the way we are playing.
“I think we need to put them on the back foot nice and early. A try would be great just to pick up the atmosphere here and the confidence in the team.
“But even if we don’t (have a fast start) we have to have the mindset of ‘we can win it in the 80th minute’.”
Cherry-Evans begrudgingly praised NSW for showing no mercy and nailing every half chance this series but was still shocked by the blowout scorelines.
“That’s the hardest part to comprehend,” he said.
“That hasn’t been a reflection of the effort we have put into training and on game day.
“With that being said looking back at the games we have created opportunities but haven’t put the finishing touches on it.
“NSW have done that every chance they have had.
“We need to get it right tomorrow night and when we do, I think the longer the game goes and the more we get it right, it will eventually show what kind of footy we can play.
“The damage is done (this series) but we get one more chance to salvage some pride and respect back.”
Queensland coach Paul Green looked forward to unleashing a new-look backline featuring Tabuai-Fidow but did not believe the Maroons had been afraid to chance their arm in attack in the first two games.
“I don’t think that is the case. I just think we need to step up to the game a bit more,” he said.
“We are a bit more potent there (with Tabaui-Fidow). Hopefully that will help turn opportunity into points.
“We haven’t had them under any scoreboard pressure, let alone pressure in the arm wrestle.
“You look at the scoreline and probably think that has not been the case but we have created opportunities in both games – we just have to take them.”
Green confirmed Tino Fa’asuamaleaui would step up from the bench and slot into lock for Jai Arrow who left camp just days before Origin III after a team hotel biosecurity bubble breach.
He hoped the Gold Coast giant, along with debutant forward Tom Flegler, would help fire up the Maroons pack.
“I don’t think we have seen the best from him (Fa’asuamaleaui) this series,” Green said.
“I am not saying he has played bad, but he is probably capable of a little bit more.
“That’s what we need from everyone, everyone needs to be a bit better.
“I don’t think there would be too many guys – and this is not a criticism – who could say they have been at their best so far.
“We all need to make sure that is the case (on Wednesday night).”