Wounded Maroons will be dangerous in Origin III

RUGBY LEAGUE

Queensland's Billy Slater will want to stay No 1 fullback in Australia. Picture: WOLTER PEETERS

Queensland's Billy Slater will want to stay No 1 fullback in Australia. Picture: WOLTER PEETERS

The party won't last long for NSW.

But it was a quite the party, the celebration and relief best summed up by Jarryd Hayne when he famously screeched about it being a long time to wait at full-time in game two.

The 80,000-odd lunatics in blue wigs at ANZ Stadium were finally able to leave the past behind and ring in a new era.

After enduring two Coffs Harbour camps drier than Wayne Bennett's wit, the Blues had earned the right to indulge.

But after all great parties comes the hangover and the angry neighbour. To keep this Maroons backline tryless for nearly 100 minutes of football is a remarkable achievement, but even coach Laurie Daley has conceded it'll be near impossible to keep Greg Inglis, Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston off the sheet for two games in-a-row.

They've gone through the motions and said all the right things and while 3-0 would be "nice", the "icing on the cake" and "the cherry on top", the Maroons simply have more to play for on Wednesday night.

As Mal Meninga admitted last week, their famous culture has been dented and while they've played a straight bat to questions, do you think Cameron Smith is all warm and fuzzy hearing Robbie Farah proclaim himself his equal?

Do you think Slater is just going to roll over and hand Hayne his Australian jersey?

Has Inglis, Origin's most prolific try-scorer, suddenly forgotten how to find the stripe? After 30 straight Origin games is Thurston really just a speed bump?

They're champions, among the best we've seen, and they'll be out to provide emphatic answers to those questions.

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