They broke Queensland’s record State of Origin streak – now the true test awaits NSW, skipper Robbie Farah says.
Blues captain Farah says they no longer fear the once all-conquering Maroons after finally discovering the secret to Origin success.
But Farah admits it remains to be seen whether the new batch of Blues are willing to do what it takes to taste victory at Origin level.
“The younger boys who haven’t been there ask ‘what is so different about Origin?’,” Farah said ahead of Wednesday night’s series opener in Sydney.
“You try to explain it.
“When you think you can’t go any more and have to find something – that’s what makes an Origin player.
“That’s what will separate the teams tomorrow night.”
NSW coach Laurie Daley has tinkered with a winning formula, making six changes to 2014’s game three team for Wednesday night’s series opener in Sydney.
Maroons coach Mal Meninga has predictably played the loyalty card, naming a side that has played more than 160 more games and scored 50 more tries than a monster NSW team.
The monkey is now off NSW’s back after snapping Queensland’s eight straight series streak last year and have celebrated by naming some gorillas with an all forwards bench including rookies Josh Jackson and David Klemmer.
Farah may not be back to the drawing board but Daley’s changes have forced him to again initiate youngsters into NSW’s new-found winning ways.
“You can have all your fancy plays and train all you want,” Farah said.
“But when times are tough out there and you have to defend the line five or six sets in a row … do you quit or do you keep going?
“That’s what Origin is all about.”
Asked if he agreed with Daley that NSW still feared Queensland, Farah said: “Not fear. We respect them, we know what they are capable of.
“For us last year is gone now.
“We know they want to bounce back, They are a champion side.
“No team wins eight in a row for no reason and that loss will be hurting from last year.”
Not that Meninga had to be reminded.
“We were beaten fair and square out there – we want to turn the tables,” he said.
“When you compete in these contests you want to win, you want to be successful.”
Meninga said they had learned their lesson from the last time they played at ANZ Stadium – game two’s tight loss that handed NSW their first series win in nine years.
And he would hope so.
Statistics show how important a game one victory is to sealing a series win.
In the 33 series since the three-game format’s introduction in 1982, the team that has won the first instalment has gone on to clinch the title 24 times.
NSW have won the first contest in 11 of their 13 series victories.
Asked if Queensland had lost their aura, Farah said: “If anything it just took the pressure off our shoulders.
“But we know Queensland will be coming at us – we need to start well.”