BLOCKER: Losing is not an option for Blues

Daniel Tupou at NSW Blues' State of Origin training. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Daniel Tupou at NSW Blues' State of Origin training. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds talk tactics during training at Coffs Harbour. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds talk tactics during training at Coffs Harbour. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Listen up Daniel Tupou and Trent Hodkinson, this game has the potential to change your life. I know you haven't been here before, but trust me - it really has the ability to.

Aaron Woods and Josh Reynolds, you might have thought Origin was just going to be a blur in your career. A little asterisk on a long and decorated NRL career which said you were just one of those NSW players thrown into and spat out of the Queensland washing machine which has been on the same cycle for eight years. Seize the moment.

Tony Williams, bet you didn't think you would be back here so soon. Maybe ever again. Probably you, too, as well, Beau Scott. Well, both of you are. And you can be the difference.

Origin isn't about waiting for Jarryd Hayne to produce the flash play. He seems to stand up in every Origin and has been our best player for what seems like the last six years. He can't do it alone.

Origin is about the dirty little things. The grubby plays you might ordinarily not attempt on a week-to-week basis. Diving on a loose ball when your team really needs possession. Chasing a mate's kick downfield when the lungs and legs don't want to, just to make another brick in the Blue wall. That's what Origin is about.

Speaking of walls, the four insular walls of the rugby league world must feel like they're ready to crash down on you.

The build-up and pressure to an Origin game can be so overwhelming and draining. You Bulldogs boys, I know you'd never thought you'd see so many column inches and air time devoted to you. It's fine. Embrace it.

And relax. I know it's not easy to do, but it's a must. You've given yourself every chance to be at your peak in enemy territory. Coffs Harbour was great. No distractions and not even a chance to break ranks this year to see family and friends. But that's fine, because you're focused on the job at hand.

It's game day, what do you do? As little as possible. Kick-off seems like an eternity away. Tick-tock. Try not to watch the clock too closely.

What do you do before a normal club game? Watch a movie, go for a swim, have a sleep? All of them? Do them exactly as you would on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

Many an Origin side has been beaten before arriving at the ground. Remember this: the field has the exact same measurements for any game of rugby league. It's no different on Wednesday night. The game might be a little tougher and faster, but it's the Origin occasion you have to master.

That's where Queensland are so good. They know the occasion so well. And they squeeze every last inch out of a motivating factor for each game.

They tell me the first one they'll use this series is the 100th Origin game and retiring Arthur Beetson's jersey. They're geniuses at finding something to hang their hat on. But you just can't worry about them. You just can't devote any wasted energy on them. It's just not worth it.

Anyway, you've got something even bigger to hang your hat on. It's the pride of a state so battered and bruised you must do everything in your power to help heal it.

Remember, everyone only talks about Queensland winning the last eight series in a row. How many have they won in a clean sweep? Just one. What has been the difference the last two years? Just one point and two points in the deciding games. You're really not that far away. Honestly.

So when the big play needs to be made, you must make it.

Why? Because you just have to win. Losing is just not an option. Not anymore. And winning might just change your life.


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