NSW greats’ game day taunt for Maroons
Queensland will struggle to better their Origin I performance, former NSW captain Paul Gallen says, backing the Blues to win Origin II and force a decider.
Gallen’s call was backed by former NSW five-eighth Jamie Soward, who said that Queensland gave their 10 out of 10 effort in the second half when they beat the Blues 18–14 at Suncorp Stadium.
NSW must win at Perth’s Optus Stadium to keep the series alive. Gallen and Soward both believe that Queensland can’t improve and will be overrun by the Blues.
“I think the Blues will win,” Gallen said on Sports Sunday. “I think it will be really close.
“I’ve got to be honest — I heard Kevvy say through the week that ‘Mean Kevvy’ gave them (Queensland) a five out of 10, ‘Nice Kevvy’ would have given the Queenslanders a six out of 10.
“I don’t know how much improvement the Queenslanders have got in them. I thought they played really well game one, I really did.
“They completed well over 90 per cent. I’d have probably given them a seven or eight out of 10, whereas I think that the Blues, there’s a lot of improvement there. I think they’ll get the job done.
“I think we’ll be going to a decider in Sydney. I think it will be close, a couple of points in it, but they’ll get the job done, is the main thing. Jimmy Maloney man of the match.”
Soward said on the Sunday Footy Show: “Honestly, I think Queensland’s second half is the best they could play. That’s their 10 out of 10. That was their ceiling. “Look, if they lose game one, the series is over. The series is over, because NSW probably go to Perth [and win] and we come back to NSW and it’s 3–0.
“They had to win at Suncprp. They reached their ceiling. NSW have a long way to go, they can show that tonight and come back to 1–1.”
However, former NSW playmaker Trent Barrett warned that Queensland was still stacked with class and may well have an extra gear.
“That’s the thing that worries me about Queensland a little bit. We all know how many good players they’ve got,” Barrett said on the Sunday Footy Show.
“[Daly] Cherry-Evans, he wasn’t 100 per cent fit in that [Origin I] game. He’s got two more games under his belt [at NRL level].
“I think their strength is [Cameron] Munster, Cherr-Evans, [Kalyn] Ponga and [Ben] Hunt. They’re going to be better again for it. The danger for us is a Munster bouncing out of tackles and skipping across our tired forwards, and the same with Cherry-Evans and Ponga.