Manly influence to fire up Blues
Wednesday 13 June 2012 12:00 PM
With yet another Origin series on the brink of oblivion for NSW, the Blues will have to muster everything they can to deny the Queenslanders in Sydney.
Anthony Watmough's Origin performances speak for themselves and the Sea Eagles enforcer's inclusion in the side is sure to help the Blues.
The Stewart brothers Brett and Glenn provide two deadly points of attack but, together with Choc, there's something more the Manly boys bring to the table: A winning mentality.
Can Choc derail the Coal Train at ANZ Stadium? Click here to see how Watmough and Taylor line up.
The Maroons have a winning culture bolstered not only by six series of momentum but by the spine of Cronk, Smith and Slater, who have led the Storm to 11 victories this season.
The Blues are on the back foot after their game one loss and the immediate questioning of referees' decisions and ongoing finger-pointing only served to highlight their desperate position.
With the weather settling in and the series on the line, it's time for the Blues to set their jaws and get their hands dirty. Which is where the Manly boys and the Fortress Brookvale bunker mindset comes into play.
The Sea Eagles know how to play up to the occasion and how to grind out a win when you need it most.
The Blues led in almost every crucial stat in the Origin opener. More possession, metres, offloads. Less penalties, missed tackles, errors.
Can Snake bite back at Billy the Kid? Click here to see how the fullbacks will feature tonight.
Yet NSW's only points came from Queensland errors and, even in slippery conditions, you wouldn't bet on another poor performance from Billy Slater.
The good news is that the platform is there. With attitude and execution, the series is well within reach but the Blues have to believe in that potential.
Watmough's aggression, footwork and Origin experience will serve to fire up the home side at ANZ.
With the size of James Tamou and Tim Grant to back him up, Choc and the Blues forwards can present the kind of opportunities the Stewarts thrive on.
Glenn's ball-playing could well be the key element in this match. Conditions are likely to limit opportunities for the Blues' strike threats so Gift's ability to delay defenders and prise open a gaps will be essential.
A big kick chase will be essential in keeping NSW on the front foot, even in defence and who better to fly out of the line than Brett Stewart.
The Queenslander have a huge pack and a bigger bench. But if Brett and the boys can pin the Queenslanders down their own end and put the onus on their forwards to trudge it up the field, their size will become a burden.
In the end it comes down to aggression, execution and belief. Do you think our boys can lead the Blues to an Origin victory at ANZ? Let us know in the comments below.