NSW are banking on a mixture of youth, youth and more youth to wrestle back State of Origin supremacy from a vastly more experienced Queensland side.
Queensland’s side boasts more than double the games played of their NSW counterparts. The Maroons’ 17 have racked up 252 Origins to the Blues’ 111.
Queensland superstar Greg Inglis has played as many interstate matches as the entire NSW backline.
Blues coach Laurie Daley named four debutants in his side for Origin I in Sydney on Wednesday in Matt Moylan, Josh Mansour, Adam Reynolds and Dylan Walker as he dumped eight players from NSW’s 52-6 loss in game three last year.
Those axed included the experienced Josh Morris (13 Origins), Mitchell Pearce (15), Ryan Hoffman (11), and Beau Scott (11).
Queenland’s two debutants in Corey Oates and Justin O’Neill have been changes forced by injury.
By and large, new Maroons coach Kevin Walters has stuck with the same team that was so successful under his predecessor Mal Meninga.
But youth is where NSW have the advantage. Queensland have seven players aged 30 or over in their team, while NSW have just three.
As a player, Daley was accused of running on old legs by Blues rival Anthony Mundine, but the former Blues great is hoping that with the clipboard now in his hand, youngsters such as Mansour can bring him victory at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
“Yes, Queensland have an experienced side. But I think everyone in this NSW side are in form and deserve their spot,” Mansour said.
“Everyone is eager, especially all the debutants. We are really grateful to be here and to be wearing the sky blue jersey and no one is taking that for granted.
“We are not thinking about Queensland’s experience. We are just worried about ourselves and what we can bring to the game on Wednesday.”
However Blues back-rower Boyd Cordner warned about underestimating the ageing Maroons pack.
“You (the media) say they are getting old every year, but they always turn up and get the job done,” he said.
“They have proven themselves before, but we will be ready for them.”
After enjoying a rest day on Friday, NSW trained on Saturday morning at their Coffs Harbour base before going through a weights session in the afternoon.
The Blues will have their final session in Coffs on Sunday morning before flying to Sydney and settling in to their pre-game base close to ANZ Stadium.