State of Origin 2017: Here comes Game 1


The stage is now set for Queensland to send Maroons warrior Thurston out of Origin a victor in the July 12 decider at Suncorp Stadium.

James Tedesco of the Blues makes a break during State of Origin game two.

Queensland won their opening series under Walters but expectations are high after predecessor Mal Meninga won 10 of 11 on his watch.

Smith said last month's game was a "wake-up call" for Queensland about what's required at Origin level.

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.

Finally, NSW have the halves combination they sought for a decade.

NSW still have the forwards strength but Queensland will be much better prepared to weather it this time, both in terms of what to expect and the players they have picked to combat that strength.

"To be honest, it will be quite an emotional week for the Queensland team, one of our legends is finishing up".

Queensland are banking on the return of Test greats Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston to rekindle hopes of defending their State of Origin crown against New South Wales on Wednesday.

We have a lot of respect for Gerard and Matt on what they did in game one.

But records count for little when you significantly contribute to one of the Blues' biggest capitulations in Origin history.

"It's something that we've looked at already".

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'It's something that we've looked at already, we addressed it early in the camp where we didn't play so well in game one and the boys are fully aware of what needs to be done in game two.

Just a few weeks ago, the Broncos mentor was gruffly calling for critics to lay off the former National Football League star after his turbulent start to 2017 with the Gold Coast Titans and reported angst within the club's playing group surrounding his training habits.

"He's one of the greatest players of all time", said skipper Smith.

They stormed down the right edge with a couple of big runs then moved the ball fast enough through the hands for Hayne to find enough space to cruise over in the left corner.

It's a tactic Blues captain Boyd Cordner has welcomed.

Valentine Holmes during a Queensland training session.

"I really don't know how he gets up for these matches". "I am looking forward to seeing him play for Queensland again".

"We've prepared like it's going to be a real battle through the middle".

Thurston played through the pain to orchestrate yet another Maroons victory, nailing a sideline conversion at ANZ Stadium to keep the series alive.

The Houdini act saw the visitors come back from 16-6 down at halftime to score 12 unanswered points in the second-half in front of 82,259 fans at ANZ Stadium. The ominous form of the returning Thurston last week will have the Blues on notice - however if they are able to replicate what they did at Suncorp and again bring their absolute best footy they should again be too strong.

Maroons assistant coach Anthony Seibold agreed it would be a tough clash and said his side was readying for a real battle through the middle.