As if Queensland didn’t already have enough motivation.
The Maroons are steeled to seal their 10th series win in 11 years on Wednesday night after an emotional Corey Parker broke the shock news this State of Origin campaign would be his last.
The veteran backrower announced he would retire at season’s end at their Gold Coast camp on Sunday night ahead of what will now be Parker’s final game for Queensland at home ground Suncorp Stadium.
Queensland captain Cameron Smith said last year’s game two loss to NSW had already provided plenty of motivation ahead of Origin II.
But after Parker’s heartfelt address the focus will now shift to sending out the veteran backrower with a home Origin swan song to remember.
Parker admitted telling his Maroons “family” was a tough pill to swallow.
“To sit in front of you guys (media) is tough but the hardest part is telling your teammates you won’t be there next year,” said Parker ahead of his 18th Origin.
“Away from immediate family they are your family.”
Parker made his debut back in 2004 and took part in the 2005 series but had to wait another six years for his next game.
“I made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t be letting that jersey go again – it is something that means so much to me,” Parker said.
“Sometimes in life you take things for granted, maybe I did that.
“I certainly haven’t done that since.”
Queensland will hope their happy knack of sending out Maroons greats as winners continues after giving fond farewells to the likes of Darren Lockyer (2011), Petero Civoniceva (2012) and Justin Hodges last year.
The Maroons gave Hodges the perfect sendoff, thrashing NSW with a record 52-6 in game three last year.
Smith believed they were capable of a repeat on Wednesday night.
“But there is one thing saying it and another doing it,” he said.
“We are under no illusions of the way NSW are going to approach this game.
“It’s all or nothing for them.”
Smith said lessons learned from last year’s game two loss at the MCG would ensure they didn’t make the same mistake again.
“We need to start better than game two last year,” he said.
“NSW came out with a very aggressive mindset – they caught us on the hop to be honest.”
Smith admitted complacency may have kicked in last year.
“Maybe we went out there knowing we were 1-0 up and if we didn’t win that there was an opportunity to go back to Brisbane,” he said.
“This time around it is totally different.
“We spoke about it on day one about our mental preparation.
“If we don’t take this opportunity it is 1-1 and we have to go back down to Sydney to win which is a very hard thing to do.”
Meanwhile, Smith said all the players were ready to go after a stomach bug hit their Gold Coast camp.