Andrew Fifita has been earmarked as a potential game-winner for NSW on what is expected to be a heavy track for Wednesday’s State of Origin series-opener.
The heavens are predicted to be open for a full 48 hours before kick-off in Sydney, with the turf to soak up as many as 25 millimetres of water.
However NSW legend Steve Roach believes that will only bring the Blues’ cascade of forwards, particularly the dynamic Fifita, right into their element against the Maroons.
“I do like the big boppers, especially if it’s going to rain and it’s slippery,” Roach said.
“I’m expecting big things from our bench, especially Fifita. If you have a look at all the stats that happened this year in the game, he’s the best tackle breaker in the game.
“I’m expecting big things from him off the bench.”
A lover of the trench warfare in the middle of the paddock, Roach was salivating at the prospect of the all-important game one being decided by the forwards.
A re-match of last year’s battle between David Klemmer and Corey Parker adds further intrigue.
“Night games are always a little slippery, a little dewy, it’s going to be cold and wet,” Roach said.
“It’ll be interesting to see how they go. But you don’t have to be a genius to have a look at the way we’re going to play. We’re going to try and put it to them.”
Blues coach Laurie Daley backed his men to come out on top no matter the way mother nature swings.
“We’re going to play in all conditions obviously but you’ve got to hold the ball in wet conditions and if they can do that, hopefully we’ll play well,” he said.
ANZ Stadium groundskeeper Graham Logan was confident that the surface would hold up despite a barrage of rain in the lead-up.
“We had five millimetres (on Sunday), we’re predicting maybe 10 tomorrow and 15 on game day, but it drains really well. It won’t affect the surface at the time,” he said.