NSW players insist they can overcome their Suncorp Stadium hoodoo and set up a State of Origin decider back in Sydney.
Wounded by Wednesday’s two-point defeat on their home turf, the Blues will now have to defy both pain and history if they are to deny Queensland a 10th series win in 11 years.
Only once in the past 11 years have the Blues won a game in Brisbane when the shield was still up for grabs, and that was only when the Maroons lost Cooper Cronk early in 2014.
However Blues players refuse to concede they’ve already lost the series.
“It’s not impossible,” said NSW centre Josh Morris.
“We’ve been up there before and done it. All the boys will want to get up there. We’re in a position now where we have to win the two games to win the series.”
NSW have won 18 times at Queensland’s spiritual home since the inception of the Origin concept in 1980, but have not won a must-win game at the old Lang Park since Andrew Johns’ fairytale comeback in game two in 2005.
Since then NSW have lost four make-or-break games at Suncorp, including a 52-6 hammering in last year’s decider – the heaviest defeat in Origin history.
Blues hooker Robbie Farah said his team’s performance in game one proved they were a vastly different unit to the one humiliated by the Maroons last year.
“Everyone keeps talking about that game, it was embarrassing, it was something that we never want to happen again,” he said.
“But we put it behind us now and I thought tonight you saw a different footy team, and one that we’re confident can go up there and win the game in game two.”
After Johns worked his magic in his comeback series in 2005 – when the Blues came from 1-0 down to claim victory – NSW’s next must-win game in Queensland came in 2010, when they were flogged 34-6 in game two as part of a 3-0 whitewash.
A reinvigorated side under Ricky Stuart then returned the following season with hopes of clinching the series, but the Maroons beat them out of the blocks to lead 24-0 and eventually take the match 34-24.
A similar fate followed in 2012 when a Cooper Cronk field goal claimed a seventh straight series win for Queensland, before last year’s lop-sided decider.
NSW MUST-WIN MATCHES AT SUNCORP
2015: Game Three – Lost 52-6
2012: Game Three – Lost 21-20
2011: Game Three – Lost 34-24
2010: Game Two – Lost 34-6
2005: Game Three – Won 32-10
1999: Game Three – Drew 10-10
1998: Game Two – Won 26-10
1994: Game Three – Won 27-12
1991: Game Three – Lost 14-12
1988: Game Two – Lost 16-6
1987: Game Three – Lost 10-8
1983: Game Three – Lost 43-22