NSW aim to blow Maroons away with speed - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NSW aim to blow Maroons away with speed

By Todd Balym 02/06/2009 04:57:38 PM Comments (0)

NSW are planning to use an edge in speed to blow away an ageing Queensland side and claim a stunning upset in the State of Origin series opener on Wednesday night.

The underdog Blues wrestled their way to a tight victory in Origin I last year but are set to abandon the conservative tactics in favour of a faster-paced game under the enclosed roof of Melbourne's Etihad Stadium.

Facing a record fourth successive series defeat, the Blues are looking to their seven rookies to spark their fading Origin attack against an all-Test backline and team chasing Origin immortality.

New NSW captain Kurt Gidley says the Blues want to play an up-tempo game to try and run the older Maroons forwards ragged before tearing holes through the middle and edges of the defence.

"The way we've been training and what we've been doing in defence and attack it's going to be a quick game," said Gidley.

"I don't think it's going to be a fancy one to start with.

"We will be playing pretty controlled. It will be back and forth until someone breaks."

The series opener also marks the debut of dual referees in Origin, Tony Archer and Shayne Hayne, and Gidley expects that move will assist in producing a furious pace.

"I think with the two referees this year the game has probably been quicker and those two referees will be well aware of that and trying to make it as fast as possible," he said.

"The quicker the game goes the better for me I think. I enjoy playing a quick game and being involved as much as I can."

Queensland coach Mal Meninga isn't surprised by NSW's game plan, he's been preparing his side to face a team far different than the 2008 Blues outfit.

Meninga says with pace out wide with the likes of speedy centre Michael Jennings joining Jarryd Hayne, he'd been expecting NSW to play a faster brand of attacking football.

"We are expecting them to play a more open brand of footy ... we are expecting a fairly speedy game and up-tempo game," said Meninga.

"They have got some smart people around the halves and hooker and they have picked a very speedy side, very quick outside backs.

"They have a very good kicking game so they will obviously try to keep us down in our own territory with good field position through an array of kicks.

"We are expecting a fast game. Two referees around the ruck obviously it will be a bit more cleaner these days so we probably expect a quicker play the ball at this level."

While much has been said of the confrontation between the two exciting backlines, Gidley says it will be the battle in the forwards that decides the result.

"I think the forwards is always a huge battle in these sorts of games," he said.

"You need to be going forward. You need to be playing up-tempo and on the front foot and holding possession of the ball.

"There's no point having a good backline if the forwards are going nowhere."

Bellamy expects changes to Queensland's named starting side - tipping Nate Myles and Karmichael Hunt to start ahead of Ashley Harrison and Test fullback Billy Slater.

Meninga says he "doesn't know and doesn't care" if Bellamy shakes up his starting side.

But Bellamy was keeping his changes a very closely guarded secret on Tuesday.

The loss of Paul Gallen to injury has opened up a start at lock and there's been no confirmation who will run out in his position.

Test forward Anthony Laffranchi has the experience from last year to step directly into his place, but Bellamy may opt for three front rowers in the early exchanges, revealing he's been tempted to start one or both rookie props Justin Poore and Michael Weyman who were named on the bench.

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