Johnson's courage inspires Maroons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Johnson's courage inspires Maroons

By Wayne Heming 30/06/2008 07:42:05 AM Comments (0)

Queensland will feed off the courage of lightweight lock Dallas Johnson to combat an expected fiery opening to Wednesday night's State of Origin series decider at ANZ Stadium.

The 92kg Johnson produced some stirring early hits to get Queensland off to a dominating start in Origin II.

They believe Johnson can rattle Blues big men Willie Mason and Brett White with his fearless head-on defence.

"He's a ferocious defender and that's what he does," said forward Ashley Harrison whose running game also contributed to Queensland's great start in their 30-0 win in game two.

"When a guy his size comes out of the line and puts a hit on one of their big guys it lifts everyone.

"He's an inspiration, he must eat concrete or something because he just keeps getting up.

"He does it week in and week out for his club side and he's been doing for a couple of years for Queensland.

"Everyone expects him to do it every game now."

Johnson - knocked out twice while playing Origin for Queensland - said he didn't go out intending to put on big hits.

"You try and hit them whenever you can," the Storm defender said.

"I suppose it does (lift the team).

"It's always good to get a shot on someone early and hopefully get a few more later in the game."

Johnson said criticism of Blues forward Willie Mason, who has been pushed into the front-row to cause some early mayhem, would fire him up for a big game.

"That's what his job is and we've got to get out their and nullify him," said Johnson.

"We have to get up into his face and get numbers into him.

"But he's just one man in a very strong forward pack and we've got to get up and into everyone's face and knock them all down.

"If Willie's been criticised, I suppose he'll be looking for a big game then and we'll do our best to come out and put him on his back."

Johnson said Harrison had been "awesome" when handed a starting role in Brisbane in the second match.

The Titans utility attacked the Blues on the edges early and his off-loading created serious headaches for the Blues' defence.

"I got an opportunity in game two and really enjoyed it and this time I've got a starting spot and I'm looking forward to it," he said.

"I like to hold the footy out in front and play footy if I see the opportunity and nothing will change there."

Harrison tipped NSW to revert to their bustling tactics that put Queensland off their game in Origin I last month.

"They really flustered us coming out of our end jumping from dummy half and really getting off the line hard," said Harrison.

"We expect that and it will be up to us to combat it."

Queensland, who have been working on getting numbers to the high kicks in anticipation of an aerial raid by new halves Mitchell Pearce and Braith Anasta, had a closed trained session at Gosford's Bluetongue Stadium.

Pearce and Anasta have orchestrated almost 30 of the Roosters side's 56 tries this season with their bombs, chips and cross-field kicks.

"We're going to have to be aware when the kicks go up that we have to be around the ball and contest all their kicks," Harrison said.

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