No surprises from copycat NSW: Mal Meninga - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No surprises from copycat NSW: Mal Meninga

Laine Clark 17/05/2011 06:59:05 PM Comments (0)

Talk of a rejuvenated NSW State of Origin threat under Ricky Stuart hardly fazes Queensland coach Mal Meninga.

"Well, they had to do something," he said dryly on Tuesday.

Not that Meninga dismissed the buzz around his former Canberra teammate's return to the NSW fold.

Indeed, he was bracing himself for a Stuart-inspired Blues on May 25 in Brisbane.

But Meninga believed NSW were simply borrowing from Queensland's winning model after suffering a record five straight Origin series losses.

"It is a case of they need a NSW side to be successful," Meninga said.

"So they invested in a lot of things (such as) Ricky fulltime (as NSW coach).

"Some of the programs that we have had going for the last decade they are putting in place.

"We know they are going to be committed, motivated, passionate and they will be well coached and drilled.

"But we know all that - that is what made us successful in recent years."

Following in the footsteps of fulltime Queensland coach Meninga, Stuart is focussing solely on his Origin role after taking up the NSW job for the first time since 2005 - the last time the Blues reigned supreme.

And if anyone can be prepared for the intense Stuart's renewed Blues assault, it is Meninga.

Years of playing alongside each other during the Raiders' glory days has ensured that.

But Meninga insisted it would mean nothing once the sides went head to head next Wednesday.

"We are both competitive, we both understand what it takes to win," Meninga said of Stuart.

"We will be doing our damnedest to make sure our team is best prepared as they can be.

"But our focus is on our preparation, not the opposition - make sure our preparation is good enough.

"We understand what is going to confront us - it is up to us to produce the goods."

Queensland enjoy a distinct advantage as they vie to send retiring skipper Darren Lockyer out a winner.

But Meninga said his team would not be dwelling too long on the fact two games this year are being held in Brisbane.

"It doesn't matter where we play. We've managed to take the stigma away from playing away," he said.

"It certainly helps when your back is against the wall and the crowd is yelling out `Queenslander'.

"But it comes down to what we do in the next eight days whether we are going to be successful or not."

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