“I think the tackle-five plays are super important here, they talk about those Origin moments, you’ve got to get them right in this game”.
Left out of the Maroons’ Origin I caning – due in part to concerns over his perceived hesitancy in defence after nearly two years out of the game – Slater is bracing for a torrid reception from the Blues, who have identified his injury as a focal point on Wednesday night.
To lose him in game two would be a disaster for coach Kevin Walters.
Finding a counter for Fifita also shapes as key to Queensland’s hopes of sending the series to a decider. Both teams have been at pains not to provide each other with ammunition, with Boyd Cordner even apologising for not being as provocative as previous Blues skipper Paul Gallen.
“We have a lot of respect for referees”.
Should the Maroons take an early lead and show that they will not be bullied as they were in Game 1, the tension inside Sydney’s ANZ Stadium will ratchet up and could have a major influence on the outcome of the match.
“Origin is a physical game so we’ll be going out there with the same mindset as always no matter who is wearing the No.1 for them”.
The NSW Blues have implored the referees not to allow the contest to be dragged down by Queensland’s wrestling tactics as they look to wrap up the series in Sydney on Wednesday night.
“We won’t be wrestling, we will be playing football”.
Pressed on whether the game would descend into Wrestlemania, Walters replied: “I haven’t seen Hulk Hogan around”.
And so Queensland would be too, to paint a pronounced target on the back of Origin I wrecking ball Andrew Fifita. I think everyone agreed it was one of the greatest Origins of all time.
NSW relentlessly bombed the axed Corey Oates in game one, but won’t be afraid to direct their aerial raids at either Slater or Queensland debutant Valentine Holmes to stifle their ability to build a head of steam on kick returns at ANZ Stadium.
“We can’t do much to control what he’s doing but we can certainly control a lot more how we handle things. We’ve got to make sure that we’ve got the right amount of energy to go at 8.10 tomorrow night”.
“It’s fair to say in our meetings we’ve been across all 17 NSW players”.
“Our major concern is us, we think we can fix up a few little areas that we were inefficient in and give ourselves every chance for a really good performance”.