Blues 'feeling the heat' for Origin II - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues 'feeling the heat' for Origin II

By Steve Jancetic and Josh Jerga 23/06/2009 07:12:29 PM Comments (0)

His side may be 80 minutes from State of Origin greatness, but Queensland coach Mal Meninga is adamant it is NSW who will head into Wednesday night's ANZ Stadium encounter with the weight of the world on their shoulders.

On the verge of an unprecedented four straight series wins, the Maroons can distance themselves from renowned sides of Origin past with victory in game two of the series.

Better than the inaugural Maroons who took until 1985 to lose their first series to the Blues.

Better than the Queensland sides of the late 80's which won three straight series - and an incredible six straight games.

Better than anything the Blues have ever dished up, including the Andrew Johns-inspired sides earlier this decade, who were on the verge of their own four-peat in 2006 before Darren Lockyer swooped to score the try which has swung Origin momentum ever since.

But for all that, it is the thought of being the vanquished opponent that Meninga claims carries the biggest burden.

Asked if it was the biggest game in Origin history, Meninga said:

"From NSW's point of view it is.

"They need to come up to the mark, they need to win to keep the series alive."

"I know how they feel, we were in the same situation in 2006. It puts a lot of pressure on the footy side."

And there it is in a nutshell, survival.

That is what it is all about for NSW, and for coach Craig Bellamy.

No NSW coach has ever survived in the job after two series losses, and while there is debate as to whether he would even want another crack at the gig, Bellamy's choices may well be limited if the Blues come up short yet again.

Asked if his Origin future depended on the result, Bellamy offered:

"I don't know, you're going to have to ask (NSWRL general manager) Geoff Carr that, but it could do."

Carr gave Bellamy his backing, as much as he could given the Blues appoint their coaches on a year-to-year basis, and admitted Bellamy's team was always going to be up against it taking on a powerful Maroons side.

"I think Craig's done an outstanding job," Carr told AAP.

"Origin appointments are from 12 months to 12 months, Craig might come back to us and say his Melbourne Storm commitments don't allow him to do it.

"From my point of view Craig Bellamy's done an excellent job and shown what a great coach he is in coaching a team that a lot of people would say isn't as good as the Queensland team."

Add to that the worst preparation in Origin history - with injuries making even a simple NSW training session an arduous task - and Bellamy has his work cut out for him.

"The guys have handled it really well, we had a few missing at different sessions like when Trent (five-eighth Trent Barrett) got hurt, but the guys just grit their teeth and we put someone in their position and off we went again.

"We prepared as best we could and made the best of the situation."

Even if NSW can pull off a win on Wednesday night, they will still head into game three with the same objective - to deny the Maroons an entry into the record books.

That will be a whole different problem at what will be a raucous Suncorp Stadium.

For the Maroons though, they want to take care of business now, even if the record hasn't been a topic of conversation.

"We haven't talked about that - you don't have to," Meninga said.

"It's been mentioned that many times, whether it be in the media or people telling us about it.

"The players are fully aware that it could be historical, but we haven't really addressed it at all."

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