NSW skipper Robbie Farah wants nothing more than to lead his state to a series-opening victory over Cameron Smith’s Queensland team on Wednesday night.
But Blues legend Ben Elias has told him to aim even higher.
And with regular captain Paul Gallen sidelined with a hip injury, Elias says there will be no greater platform for Farah to upstage the Kangaroos leader than in Game I.
“Robbie’s a very ambitious kid. I know he wants the Australian number nine,” Elias told AAP on Tuesday.
“And I said to him: The only way to win the Australian number nine is to play all over this bloke (on Wednesday).
“And to play all over this bloke, you’ve got to be really at your best ever. You’ve got to dream of a superman performance.
“And that probably won’t even oust him because he’s such a great player.
“But you know what? You’re ringing the warning bells and telling him you’re there.”
Smith, 31, has been a staple of the national line-up since making his debut in 2006, ascending to the captaincy in 2011 following the retirement of Darren Lockyer.
In contrast, Farah, also 31, has just eight appearances for Australia and has been in and out of the line-up.
However Elias said Farah’s legacy would be strengthened on showing up a man who he has long played bridesmaid to throughout his career.
“It’s the ultimate – there’s no greater arena than doing it when they’re both captains, they’re both wearing the nines, they’re both representing their state, they’re both as old as each other, they’re both as tough as each other, and they’re both as talented as each other,” Elias said.
“There’s a fine line between it, and that fine line is victory.”
Even withstanding the loss of Gallen, Elias believes Farah has the forward pack – particularly on the bench – to work his magic around the ruck.
The former NSW hooker of 22 games said the timing of their introduction on Wednesday night was crucial to the outcome of the match.
“I haven’t seen a bench this strong for a long, long time,” Elias said.
“They’re all in-form players. I can’t wait for them to come on, and it’s been a long time since I’ve said that.
“The timing of those reserves is so important it’s not funny.
“It’s imperative that the timing of the reserves coming on makes the right impact. The coach that reads that the best will be the victor.”