If history is any guide, State of Origin I is just about a must-win for NSW.
If the Blues can’t get off to a winning start in Sydney on Wednesday night, as they failed to do last year, their dreams of retaining the Origin shield will be shot to pieces.
Winning game one has proven critical to the Blues taking out the series. Of the 13 series wins by NSW, 11 have come after they have won the series opener.
That was the case when they finally broke eight years of interstate dominance by Queensland in 2014, when they won the first match in Brisbane and followed that up in Sydney.
Game one is also crucial for the Blues because of their horror record at Suncorp Stadium, as evidenced by last year’s 52-6 shellacking in the decider.
The former Lang Park is not a happy hunting ground for the Blues. Since Queensland began their dominance of Origin in 2006, when their eight-year winning streak began, NSW have won just one live Origin match at the venue.
That was in game one in 2014, when a superlative defensive effort paved the way for a 12-8 win and NSW’s first series win in nine years when they won the return fixture in Sydney.
But the good news for Blues fans is that NSW have had success at ANZ Stadium, the venue for the series opener on Wednesday.
The Blues have won six of the eight game-one matches at the venue. Queensland’s only game-one wins were in 2010 and last year when the claimed an 11-10 victory.
All that makes it even more important for the Blues to start the series off on the right foot with a win in Sydney.
“It is our home game and we are looking forward to putting in a good performance in front of own our crowd,” Blues back-rower Boyd Cordner said.
“It’s been a great week in camp, we have all been working really hard and I know we will all be ready to go on Wednesday.