NSW have been given a cruel reminder of Queensland’s dominance after Tuesday’s captain’s run at Suncorp Stadium was hijacked by a highlights package of the Maroons dynasty from 2006.
As NSW coach Laurie Daley put his team through their final paces ahead of Wednesday’s do-or-die State of Origin encounter, dozens of Maroons tries were being shown on the two big screens either end of the arena.
However stadium officials quickly distanced themselves from any conspiracy theories, explaining that the video was for a Queensland Former Origin Greats luncheon hosted at the old Lang Park on Tuesday.
In what was the first time the Blues had returned to the venue since their record-breaking humiliation in last year’s decider, players and officials were bewildered at the footage flashed across the stadium.
The Blues have won just three of their past 12 games in Brisbane, although two of them were dead rubbers and the other was when Cooper Cronk went off with a broken arm in 2014.
Captain Paul Gallen insists any demons the team needed to exorcise were done at the start of the series.
“There’s no demons at all. That was spoken about before game one,” Gallen told AAP.
“It’s just a game of footy, the dimensions are all the same. We’ll just have to execute better. That’s what it comes down to.”
Almost half of the team that will run out on Wednesday weren’t part of last year’s decider, with rookies Matt Moylan, Josh Mansour, Adam Reynolds, Dylan Walker saved the indignity, as well as debutants Tyson Frizell and Jack Bird.
Blake Ferguson, Greg Bird, James Maloney and Andrew Fifita also missed the match.
According to vice-captain Robbie Farah, any demons were buried in a catch-up over the summer.
“We met together and we reviewed last year’s series. That was dead and buried, that’s gone.
“It was important that we did that because you can’t just forget about what happened. You need to learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Down one-nil in the series and with history against them, Farah urged the Blues’ young blood to embrace the challenge of being written off in front of the raucous Brisbane crowd.
“It can be daunting if you want to look at it that way, but I get excited. I love it,” he said.