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Gidley dismisses Maroons' underdog talk

25/05/2010 08:07:47 PM Comments (0)

NSW captain Kurt Gidley has dismissed Queensland's claims to the underdog tag for Wednesday night's opening State of Origin clash at ANZ Stadium.

Gidley says the Maroons have proved over many years it doesn't matter who wears their jersey, they will rise to the occasion.

Queensland have won the last four series but are claiming underdog status after bookmakers installed NSW as favourites for game one following the injury-enforced withdrawal of Test hooker Cameron Smith.

"I don't buy into it at all," Gidley said.

"It's a Queensland team, it's the best players in their position at the moment that are picked for that team.

"I don't care what names are in those jumpers, it's going to be a tough match and that's the way I approach it."

NSW are confident they can pick up from the performance which resulted in last year's 28-16 game three win at Suncorp Stadium as they try to end four years of Queensland domination.

"I feel like playing tonight to be honest and I felt that way right from when that game finished last year.

"I was wishing there was a game the next week."

Maroons coach Mal Meninga claims all the pressure is on NSW to end Queensland's dominance on Wednesday night.

The Maroons arrived in enemy territory on Tuesday declaring they had little to prove against a NSW outfit desperate to restore their Origin credibility.

"I think they're under a bit of pressure," Meninga said of NSW shortly after touching down in Sydney.

"We've come here just to play our game and be confident in everything we do."

After opening Origin week as $2.15 outsiders, NSW have firmed into $1.77 favourites.

Meninga did his best to embrace the underdog status, with Smith's late withdrawal coming on the back of mainstays Justin Hodges, Ben Hannant and Steve Price being unavailable for selection.

"For a hundred years NSW have been favourites - every game regardless of whether we win or lose," he said.

"It's nice coming down here being the underdogs in the bookies minds, but we also realise on paper and on the night there's not a struck match between both sides.

"They've got a great team and big boppas picked on form, we're playing down here so everything's against us, it's a challenge for us on the back of losing game three last year."

That game three loss has seemingly taken on epic proportions in the build up to Wednesday night's ANZ Stadium encounter, with NSW believing their aggressive approach to be the kryptonite to Queensland's glittering array of supermen.

That the Maroons had enjoyed what could best be described as a relaxed build-up to that Suncorp Stadium defeat, and that they had already achieved their goal of creating history with the series wrapped up with a game two win in Sydney, seems to have been conveniently forgotten.

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