Friday, 24 November, 2017

Smith tips JT to line up for series decider

Lucia Summers | 29 June, 2017, 09:04

Bennett highlighted Hayne's decision, which was described by some Origin commentators as "selfish" and a "showboat" move, as one of the decisive moments that cost NSW the win.

While the Maroons were as resilient and as tough as expected, it was New South Wales' inability to put a beaten Queensland team to the sword that will dominated discussion over the coming days and weeks.

"We're over the moon. we were behind the eight ball at halftime, but we got the job done at the end", said Thurston, who plans to retire from representative football after this season.

"We know it's a very hard thing to go down to Sydney and win but we've done it in the past and this is a pretty good side that's been put together, so if we go down and play well, we're a pretty good chance of doing it".

"We'll have our hands full".

Having announced this series will be his last, there will be a huge build up as "JT" races the clock to be fit for what promises to be a sellout home crowd.

Blues coach Laurie Daley and a number of his players on Tuesday spoke about how they were prepared for the Maroons to wrestle their way back into the series, with Daley calling it a "concern" that Queensland may want to turn it into a slower game.

"Yes, it's great to have all that support behind us, because it feels great, but it can change pretty quickly and Queensland have been the champions for so long and to beat them would be something special for our group of guys".

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson lined up for Queensland, urging people "don't laugh" when she pulled on the guernsey. But they realise the challenge has been set and the challenge is to go out there and be better than we were in game one because Queensland definitely will be.

Djokovic bumped up to two in Wimbledon seedings
Grass-court lover Gilles Muller is the big mover, with the Luxembourger ranked 26th by ATP but seeded 16th for the Wimbledon draw. After the loss, he was forced to be out of the tour for the remainder of the year because of a knee injury.

"Johnathan Thurston, his performance tonight was so courageous".

Not many other wingers in the game could have done that and I think that the way he will start the sets for Queensland - where it really struggled in game one to get any fast play-the-balls - he will just rip through that middle with his leg speed and footwork.

"The last time we were here (in Sydney) for an Origin game, the penalty count was 12-4".

"That's the key for us, that's the key for Origin because you don't get many".

Queensland knows the firepower the Blues bring from what Smith calls a "very, very good" pack extends to the bench and is about more than one man.

But the Maroons have also run drills all week focussing on front-row wrecking ball Andrew Fifita. Boyd Cordner (c), 13. Selected out of obscurity, Tim Glasby had just entered play when James Maloney walked past him in a lacklustre effort before linking with Brett Morris, who finished like a true professional.

"Everyone is talking about that first half, we were just like zombies going back and forth, back and forth, and that's what Origin's all about - and that's why it's so special".

Hayne's first half try, his 11th in Origin, made him NSW's equal leading try scorer with former centre Michael O'Connor.

Unlike any team in the past decade, the game-one Maroons failed to carry out their individual assignments. "They are a better defensive team through the middle".

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