Farah threat makes Maroons edgy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Farah threat makes Maroons edgy

By Wayne Heming 01/06/2009 03:18:10 PM Comments (0)

Rookie NSW hooker Robbie Farah's creativity has Queensland more than a little nervous ahead of Wednesday's State of Origin series opener.

Queensland have been used to combating the toughness and competitiveness of former Blues skipper Danny Buderus in the No.9 jumper in recent years.

But Maroons skipper Darren Lockyer admits the energetic Farah poses a different sort of challenge in the 2009 opener at Etihad Stadium.

In a big wrap for Farah, Lockyer singled him out as the player who could most influence the result of Wednesday night's match at Etihad Stadium for the Blues.

"Buderus was a great player for NSW, a fierce, tough competitor who was pretty tricky out of dummy half," said Lockyer.

"But Farah is one those guys if you give him any space to create things around the ruck area, he can make life very tough for you.

"Farah is definitely a player we want to keep quiet on the night."

Lockyer is openly wary of the danger from any Queensland complacency when faced with an underdog, new-look opposition after three consecutive series wins.

He warned NSW would also bring an improved kicking game, with Farah one of four notable practitioners in that area.

NSW won the opening game last year with the help of a superb kicking display from rookie halfback Peter Wallace who's been recalled after missing the 2008 series decider.

"NSW's kicking game is the best it's looked with Farah at dummy half, (Peter) Wallace, (Terry) Campese and then there's (Kurt) Gidley as well which means our kicking game is going to be more important than in previous years," said Lockyer, who will share the job with hooker Cameron Smith.

"We've got some capable kickers and that's one of the areas we have to make sure we do well because it's an area of the game that sets everything up."

Lockyer dismissed fears veteran props Steve Price (35) and Petero Civoniceva (33) would finally show their age under the heat and speed of an Origin clash tipped to be even faster with two referees calling the shots for the first time.

"The one thing I know is whenever they've played for Queensland or Australia the legs find some energy," said Lockyer.

"There's absolutely no concerns about them."

The big concern for Lockyer is making sure his players take the field with their heads on and not thinking the job will be easy.

"The same squad last year had all played Origin football and we put in a poor performance," he said.

"If we walk out thinking we've got a good team on paper; everyone's played Origin before and thinking that will translate into a good performance, we'd better take a good look at ourselves.

"We all sat down last week and talked openly and honestly about what potentially could cause up to have an ordinary performance.

"Now it's a matter of making sure it doesn't happen."

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