Maroons ready to handle Blues fireworks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maroons ready to handle Blues fireworks

By Todd Balym And Wayne Heming 31/05/2009 06:51:39 PM Comments (0)

Queensland are prepared for an aggressive NSW pack to try anything in the Blues' desperation to avoid a fourth straight State of Origin series defeat.

As anticipation builds for the series opener at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night, veterans Petero Civoniceva and Cameron Smith said the Maroons have forwards with enough experience and composure to handle anything thrown at them by a Blues pack with a lot to prove.

"I suppose the thought is there but that's State of Origin," said Civoniceva when asked if the young Blues might be tempted to make names of themselves with some Origin biff.

"We are thankful that as a pack we have been together for quite some time now and we are aware of some of the situations that might occur but we are ready for it.

"Within our pack especially there is a tremendous amount of experience there so I suppose if a situation like that occurs we have the right guys there with the right mindset to be able to handle it."

While Queensland have the same forward pack which claimed last year's series title, the Blues have only Anthony Laffranchi of the forwards who played in the 2008 series.

Brent Kite, Luke Bailey, Luke O'Donnell and Luke Lewis return from the representative wilderness while Dragons trio Michael Weyman, Justin Poore and Ben Creagh are on debut.

O'Donnell and Weyman both spent several weeks on the sidelines last year for striking offences.

While Smith doesn't believe the Blues will resort to fighting, he believes his team must be wary because of their desperation.

"I'm not predicting any fireworks or anything like that," said Smith after Queensland completed an impressive 90 minute session at Olympic Park on Sunday.

"From our side we know from 2006 what it feels like to be in their position.

"You're going to do any anything to try and get a win.

"With all the media talk and all the people putting all the money on Queensland they've got the easy job out there, nobody expects them to win.

"They don't have to worry about any outside factors, there's no expectation on them and they can just go out and play their own game."

The importance of the opening game is amplified for the Queenslanders given the second match will be staged at Sydney's ANZ Stadium where NSW have a strong record.

However, Civoniceva sees that working in Queensland's favour as they upset NSW at Homebush to clinch last year's title and the big prop believes they'll have the psychological advantage over the Blues if they head to Sydney leading the series 1-nil.

"Something we have spoken about as a group is that over the last few years we have not been able to get off to a real good start so that has been a main focus for us," he said.

"We know the importance of grabbing a win here because we can go to Sydney knowing we can win there too.

"It'd be great to go there with a win and hopefully build some momentum to take into game two."

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