NSW say they face an even bigger hill to climb this State of Origin series than when they broke Queensland’s eight-year winning streak last year.
The Blues go into Wednesday’s series opener in Sydney in the unfamiliar position of having to defend their title.
Instead of releasing the pressure valve, centre Josh Morris said it had only made the task harder.
“It’s a different feeling,” he said.
“None of us have been in a position where we have to defend the series.
“We know it’s a bit different but we know it’s going to be a bit harder than last year because Queensland are a great side and they’re going to want to win the Shield back.”
The Blues finally broke the Maroons’ reign last year on the back of a courageous performance after drawing a line in the sand.
After being humbled for eight straight years, the Blues took a “whatever it takes” mentality into last year’s series and resolved to play through injury and pain to get the job done.
One of those to set an example was Morris, who played on with a posterior cruciate ligament injury in his knee.
He played a key role in stopping several Queensland attacking raids but paid the price when he was sidelined for several weeks after the match.
“That’s just Origin isn’t it? It gets harder every year,” Morris said.
“You see it gets faster and the hits get bigger but that’s just what makes Origin so great, to be able to stand there and come away with a victory is very satisfying.”