Origin hookers slug it out for last time - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Origin hookers slug it out for last time

02/07/2008 10:18:57 AM Comments (0)

Most title fights go 15 rounds.

At ANZ Stadium tonight it goes one more when rugby league lightweights Danny Buderus and Cameron Smith climb in the Origin ring for the 16th and last time.

Buderus - weighing in at 91kg and fighting out of the blue corner - and Smith, tipping the scales at 92kg out of the maroon corner, had their first State of Origin clash in game three of the 2003 series.

Their stoush continues a long history of fierce rivalries between Origin hookers, including the bitter battles waged between Ben Elias and Steve Walters during the 1980s.

Statistics have Smith ahead eight rounds to seven with Queensland scoring 277 points to NSW's 250 in those 15 Origin games.

Buderus will be doing his best to deliver the knockout blow on Wednesday night and a victory would equal Laurie Daley's captaincy record of three series wins in his 21st successive Origin - another record for successive games.

He will also pass Brad Fittler's record of captaining NSW 14 times.

Their jabs and blows out of dummy half and their option-taking under pressure will be crucial to the outcome of the series decider.

Smith, 25, admits he modelled a lot of his game on Buderus as a youngster while Buderus this week acknowledged his long-time rival was one of the game's best hookers and a worthy Origin opponent.

"You love testing yourself against the best players and he's right up there and a key factor for their team," said Buderus of Smith.

Queensland coach Mal Meninga, who played 32 Origins, said Wednesday night's final round between the two hookers would be a "ripper".

"They're instrumental in both sides, they handle the ball more than anybody else and they'll have a big bearing on the way the team goes.

Buderus will have the support of 80,000 vocal supporter in his corner but whatever happens, you can bet both hookers will go down swinging.

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