NSW, Qld fight for wet Origin advantage - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NSW, Qld fight for wet Origin advantage

Steve Jancetic and Wayne Heming 13/06/2011 06:43:10 PM Comments (0)

The battle for wet weather advantage has taken over from underdog status as the pre-Origin battleground with NSW and Queensland both claiming Sydney's big wet will work in their favour on Wednesday night.

Days of persistent rain and the forecast for more showers ahead of State of Origin II at ANZ Stadium has both teams altering their plans as they attempt to capitalise on the expected slick surface.

A state-of-the-art drainage facility means the turf should hold together at the Olympic venue, but players will be advised to use long sprigs for better grip.

The Blues contend that this could be to their advantage given their smaller, more nimble pack, though they admit they would have preferred a hard surface.

"Obviously we'd prefer a dry track but a wet track's just fine," NSW centre Mark Gasnier said.

"The good thing is we know it's going to be a wet track and we've got a few days up our belt to prepare - we started to prepare even as early as Friday when we knew it was going to be a wet track."

While the Blues have gone with just two specialist props for game two, the Maroons have stuck with their three-man rotation of Petero Civoniceva, Matt Scott and Ben Hannant.

Asked if Queensland's size would give the visitors the upper hand in the wet, Gasnier replied: "I would say no ... I don't think the size is going to matter, I think the willingness is going to matter and you can only really tell that on Wednesday night."

Queensland have spent a week training on the Sunshine Coast in mostly dry weather and will have their final run at ANZ Stadium on Tuesday.

Maroon hooker Cameron Smith believes the weather could hamper NSW's desire to play an up-tempo game.

"NSW picked a forward pack, knowing the new referees had been told to speed up the ruck, so they picked two specialist frontrowers and the rest backrowers," Smith said.

"If it's going to be wet and sloppy and muddy - that takes those guys out of the game and brings everyone back to square again.

"Then it comes down to who holds onto the ball the best and generates the most pressure.

"We're happy with our preparation and, if they want to speed it up more, then I'm happy with that. It makes the job easy for me."

Smith said while it was an admission NSW's big forwards could not get over the top of Queensland in game one, it didn't mean they couldn't get the job done in Sydney.

"It's not that they can't beat us. It's just that their forward pack got dominated in game one and they're trying something different this time.

"Knowing it was going to be refereed differently, they've gone with forwards with good leg speed, who can manoeuvre around our big boys and try and get a roll on with quicker play-the-balls.

"But that won't be easy to do in the wet now."

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