Pressure? What pressure?
Besieged NSW coach Laurie Daley claims Queensland will be the ones feeling the heat in Wednesday’s State of Origin II at Suncorp Stadium.
Yet all signs point to Daley’s Blues being under the pump – again.
Queensland can clinch a 10th series win in 11 years with a game two victory.
That may cost Daley his job.
And sully departing Blues skipper Paul Gallen’s Origin legacy.
NSW average just 10 points per game under Daley.
The last time the Blues kept a series alive by winning game two in Brisbane was in 1998.
The odds are stacked against NSW – but someone has forgotten to tell Daley.
“I’m quite immune to what’s going on,” Daley said.
“All I’m worried about is trying to get this team to win game two.
“Who knows, Queensland might be the ones under pressure.
“They’re expected to win.”
Just two 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.
“There’s pressure on both sides but for me personally, it’s not a pressure job,” Daley said.
“It’s a job that I love and enjoy.
“If I lose a game of football, it’s not the worst thing that’s going to happen to me.”
In contrast, Queensland coach Kevin Walters appears in the box seat ahead of just his second game at the helm.
Queensland have won nine of 11 Origin II games in Brisbane, winning six straight since 2002.
The last time they met at Suncorp Stadium, the Maroons romped to a record 52-6 win.
But Walters admitted to some anxiety, fearing the Blues may bounce back to keep the series alive just as they did with a shock game two win at Melbourne last year.
“My fear of failure is driving me,” he said.
“There is some pressure on us to some degree.
“If we have to go to Sydney for a decider that is going to be a difficult task.”
Both teams had their training camp dramas.
A stomach bug went through Queensland and winger Dane Gagai had to overcome a quad strain.
NSW lost the suspended Wade Graham, forcing them to blood more rookies – Jack Bird and Tyson Frizell – in a reshuffle.
Then there’s the ongoing pressure on game one flop Dylan Walker to finally fire after being injected into the starting side.
Walters did not expect it to detract from the spectacle to come.
“Both teams will improve on game one, how much each team has will determine the result,” he said.
“They (NSW) will come here with a great attitude – they will be ready for the performance of their lives.
“I have just got this feeling it will be an Origin classic.”