NSW believe they have the number of Queensland’s superstars and can rattle their cages during next Wednesday’s State of Origin series opener in Sydney.
Blues enforcer Beau Scott says it’s no secret he will target Johnathan Thurston while the Blues said they will also get up in the face of Greg Inglis.
As the Blues settled into team camp at Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast on Wednesday, they detailed their plans to stymie Queensland’s team of superstars.
With NSW’s Bash Brothers, Paul Gallen and Greg Bird, missing through injury and suspension, the role of chief enforcer has fallen to a willing Scott, who plans to resume his running battle with Thurston.
Thurston was left fuming after being targeted by Scott in Newcastle’s NRL second round win over North Queensland, when the Knights enforcer delivered some hard and late shots on the Cowboys halfback.
Scott was put on report but not suspended for a dangerous throw which Newcastle great Andrew Johns described it as a “cheap shot”.
In the fallout, Thurston said he would expect Newcastle players to take more care not to tip players on their heads in the wake of the Alex McKinnon incident.
The Blues back-rower said on Wednesday he would again be out to get under the skin of the Maroons playmaker in Origin I at ANZ Stadium.
“It’s sort of the role of the people that play in my position – to shut down the halves and the five-eighths of the team and the ones that make the difference,” Scott said.
While Queensland have numerous attacking options, NSW are confident they can keep them quiet, having done the job last year.
Queensland are again expected to focus most of their attack via the prolific Inglis-Darius Boyd partnership on their left flank.
Inglis and Boyd both have 15 Origin tries, sharing the record for the most in Origin history.
But Blues centre Josh Morris, who will again mark up on Inglis, said they successfully disrupted him last year and can do it again.
“It’s whole team role and we need to make sure we’re shutting down their key players and not giving them enough time to make the right decisions,” he said.
“We certainly unsettled them in that regard. We’ll look to do that again this year.”