NSW are adamant they have the attacking thrust to force the State of Origin series to a decider despite averaging a miserable nine points a game under Laurie Daley.
In winning the interstate series last year, NSW scored their least amount of points ever, winning 12-8 and 6-4 in the opening two matches before succumbing 32-8 to the Maroons in Game III for a combined total of just 20 points.
In Daley’s first year as coach in 2013, the Blues failed to regularly trouble the scoreboard in winning the first game 14-6, before losing 26-6 and 12-10 in the following games, for a tally of 22 points.
The Blues attack looked promising in the first half of Game I in Sydney last month, scoring two tries, but sagged badly in the second half as they lost 11-10.
Much of their attacking menace came from fullback Josh Dugan who was instrumental in the Blues’ 20th minute try to Josh Morris and he again looms as a key weapon for Game II in Melbourne next week.
Dugan believes as long as they can get themselves into decent field position more regularly, NSW can force this year’s Origin series to a decider with some fluid attack.
“Our attack (in Game I), when we did have the ball and we were down their end I thought we were pulling them apart and we were creating opportunities for us to score tries,” Dugan said.
“We proved that scoring two tries and forcing drop outs, that sort of thing.
“That second half we just defended too much, we came up with a few errors at our end which gave them the ball down there.
“I think we played 90 per cent of the second half in our own end so we didn’t get the chance to play any good footy.”
Prop Aaron Woods is certain his outside men can take advantage if the Blues forwards can lay a platform up front.
“When we were in attacking position in Game I, they (the backs) showed what they can do, we did manage to put some points on the board,” Woods said.
“We just couldn’t back that up in the second half.
“(Halves) Trent (Hodkinson) and Mitchell (Pearce) looked good together when given the chance, they have another week together this time and I reckon we will be the better for it.
“It’s up to the forwards to do our thing and create that space and opportunity for our backs.”
Hooker Robbie Farah took part in NSW’s first training session at their Coffs Harbour base as his recovery from a shoulder injury continues.
Farah looked free of concerns as he participated in a full ballwork session nine days out from Origin II in Melbourne.
The Blues rake looked at ease as he repeatedly stretched his shoulder in the warm-up then looked slick and lively at dummy-half.
In the time media witnessed the session, recalled Brett Morris trained outside Michael Jennings on the Blues’ left wing, in an indication Daley could break up his previous right side partnership with brother Josh in an attempt to shore up NSW’s defence on the other side.
Both of Queensland’s tries in game one came on the NSW’s left side where dumped winger Daniel Tupou was defending with Jennings.