Maroons eye fourth straight series title - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maroons eye fourth straight series title

By Todd Balym 04/06/2009 08:11:19 AM Comments (0)

Queensland have wasted little time turning their attention to State of Origin II in Sydney on June 24 after taking a 1-nil series lead in their quest for a record fourth straight series title.

The Maroons withstood a spirited fightback from the baby Blues to claim a 28-18 victory over NSW in the opening game at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

But rather than celebrate a hard-earned victory, it was a case of the job only being half done for the Maroons as they eye the greatest series winning streak in the 30 year history of Origin rugby league.

"That's step one, two to go," said coach Mal Meninga.

"It certainly makes it a little easier for us (to win four titles in a row)." But the Maroons will be forced to complete the series without Test centre Justin Hodges who is expected to be ruled out for the remainder of the campaign due to a medial ligament injury in his right knee.

Hodges will have scans when he returns to Brisbane but he is expected to miss four to six weeks.

NSW rookie Michael Jennings was the only injury concern out of the Blues camp with the centre suffering a corked calf muscle which will rule him out of Penrith's Friday night clash with the Wests Tigers.

Jennings was among the best of NSW's seven rookies, with hooker Robbie Farah the clear standout while Ben Creagh didn't disappoint at Origin level either.

But pressure is sure to increase on the Blues halves with Peter Wallace and rookie Terry Campese largely ineffective and under threat from in-form Newcastle playmaker Jarrod Mullen.

The Blues will also have to find room for Test duo Glenn Stewart (suspension) and Paul Gallen (shoulder) who were forced out of the original 17-man squad.

NSW coach Craig Bellamy predicted there would be few changes to his side for the ANZ Stadium clash in three weeks.

"After tonight's performance I think most of them will be there again," said Bellamy.

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