Two words sum up why Queensland coach Kevin Walters is anxious about State of Origin II – Matt Moylan.
Walters fears the NSW fullback will create havoc on a dry Suncorp Stadium surface that will finally “ignite” the Blues’ attack on Wednesday night.
Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk’s kicking game kept Moylan honest on Origin debut, ensuring a nervous start in Queensland’s dour 6-4 game one win in Sydney.
Some critics even wondered why Wests Tigers’ James Tedesco was not considered for the Blues’ No.1 jersey for game two.
But instead of relishing Queensland’s chance to seal a 10th series win in 11 years, Walters is wary of a very different Moylan emerging on Wednesday.
“We have done a lot of work on Matt Moylan – his skills were underestimated in game one,” Walters said.
“He is one player we are going to be putting as much pressure on as we can to limit what he does on the field.
“I think he is a real exciting player and suits the type of footy that will be played tomorrow night.”
Asked how they planned to stop Moylan, Walters said: “We just have to be smart defensively on him and some clever kicking helps.
“Being the creative player he is, he is going to create a lot of space, a lot of havoc.”
Queensland flexed their attacking muscle at the last Origin clash at Suncorp Stadium, claiming a record 52-6 win.
But Walters fears the stage is set for NSW to show their try-scoring might after averaging just 10 points a game during besieged coach Laurie Daley’s tenure.
“I think the surface here and the atmosphere will ignite NSW,” Walters said.
“As tough and brutal as game one was, the real skills weren’t showcased.
“I suspect NSW will be out to use the ball a bit more, as are we.
“The ANZ Stadium was criticised for its surface (after game one) but I don’t think it was about that.
“I think it was being the first game, each testing each other out – in game two both teams are more comfortable.”
Walters believes the dry Brisbane deck will even work wonders for under-fire NSW centre Dylan Walker, who had a disastrous debut off the bench in game one.
“With it being Dylan’s first Origin game at Suncorp, we will try to make it as uncomfortable for him as we can,” Walters said.
“I know he was heavily criticised after game one but we are certainly aware of how explosive he can be.”
Walters was surprised by lock Corey Parker announcing his retirement at season’s end, ensuring Origin II will be his last in Brisbane for Queensland.
Walters said Parker didn’t want it to be used as a motivating factor on Wednesday.
He also said his team was 100 per cent after a stomach bug went through their Gold Coast camp.