Origin’s Mission Impossible awaits

Call it NSW’s Mission Impossible.

The Blues’ mission, if they choose to accept it, is to exorcise their Suncorp Stadium demons and defy an all-conquering Queensland on Wednesday night.

If they fail, the NSW State of Origin dream will self destruct.

And quite possibly Blues coach Laurie Daley’s job.

Plus NSW skipper Paul Gallen’s legacy.

No pressure then.

Daley is contracted until the end of 2017.

However, his job could be on the line if Queensland seal a remarkable 10th series win in 11 years in Origin II.

How times have changed.

Two short years ago Daley was the toast of NSW as the Blues coach who ended Queensland’s eight-year reign.

Now he is just 80 minutes away from a third series loss in four campaigns.

Only Melbourne mentor Craig Bellamy has survived back-to-back series defeats as Blues coach.

“What I do, I love,” Daley said.

“I’m a guy who is very thankful for the position he has. I love it and it’s certainly not stressful.”

That may dramatically change next week.

The knives are already out for Daley.

NSW greats Andrew Johns and Phil Gould have been scathing of Daley’s game plans on attack.

The Blues under Daley have averaged just 10 points per game since 2014.

NSW have topped 14 points in a match just once in 10 games in Daley’s tenure.

Last year alone Queensland almost doubled NSW’s series points tally, wracking up 81 – their fourth highest total in Origin history – to the Blues’ 42.

If that wasn’t cause for concern enough, there’s also their Suncorp Stadium record.

Queensland have won nine of the last 12 home Origins.

Two of those three losses were dead rubbers.

The other in 2014 was when Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk came off with a broken arm in the opening minutes.

It gets worse.

Queensland have won nine of 11 Origin II games in Brisbane, winning six straight since 2002.

The last time NSW kept a series alive by winning game two in Brisbane was back in 1998.

And who can forget the last time they played at Suncorp Stadium?

Daley is probably still trying to after Queensland’s record 52-6 win.

Even Kevin Walters – just one game into his Queensland coaching tenure – admits the Maroons can’t even pretend to claim beloved underdog status.

“No one is expecting them (NSW) to win, that’s for sure,” Walters said.

The Maroons are assured of their legacy whether they win, lose or draw on Wednesday.

Even a series loss under new coach Walters wouldn’t tarnish their reputation as Origin’s greatest team.

And there is no let up in sight.

Future stars Ben Hunt, Anthony Milford, Dylan Napa, Cameron Munster and Valentine Holmes are on standby for an ageing Queensland side with seven players on the wrong side of 30.

They are serving 12 month bans for breaking Emerging Maroons camp curfew.

The likes of Daly Cherry-Evans, Will Chambers and Maroons great Billy Slater hope to fight back from injury.

But NSW?

The Blues may not dare contemplate it, but they will be back to square one – again – if they cop another series defeat.

If saving Daley’s neck is not enough motivation, ensuring a successful Origin swansong for Gallen surely is for the Blues in game two.

His Origin reputation goes on the line in Brisbane.

The third most-capped Blue with 22 games has savoured just one series win.

NSW’s heart and soul could still be remembered as the man who led a Blues triumph over Origin’s greatest team.

Defeat will condemn Gallen to a record 11 series losses.

The early signs aren’t good for NSW.

Cracks have begun to show from Daley judging by his request for referees Gerard Sutton and Ben Cummins not to officiate again after their 6-4 Origin I loss in Sydney.

Both were retained for game two.

There have been other distractions.

Cronulla’s Wade Graham was supposed to provide much needed attacking spark when named to make his Origin debut as injured backrower Boyd Cordner’s replacement.

He lasted one training session in NSW camp before copping a one-match suspension.

How will NSW react with the odds stacked against them?

Cue the Mission Impossible theme.

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