Coach's Box: Target the Maroons rookies

For the first time in some years, Queensland has offered a bit of "rookiness" about their backline with the inclsuion of debutant winger Jharal Yow yeh and Darius Boyd, who, although he has been there before, is not a specialist winger. 

NSW paid the price for that last year with Jarryd Hayne playing out of position on the wing. It was pretty embarrassing and obviously a key factor in not choosing Hayne this time, but opting for specialist wingers.

I don't buy into the left centre/right centre thing so on those grounds I would have picked Jamal Idris, but that is the only selection I disagree with in the new-look Blues team featuring five debutants. 

Queensland has only two, with Yow Yeh on the wing and Dane Nielsen in the centres, creating some vulnerability about this Maroons side which is chasing an incredible sixth straight series win.

Don't get me wrong, Queensland still have a great team, with a spine that is very potent. 

They have a hell of a lot of experience in the core through Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston (who is in great form) and Cameron Smith, with Darren Lockyer getting the reward off these three guys.

And they have a great advantage in that they could probably do exactly the same training session they have done over the past five years with the nucleus of the team still together.

But based on the teams announced this week, the Blues' game plan should be relatively simple: they need to expose the inexperienced winger and centre Yow Yeh and Nielsen.

I heard Raiders coach David Furner during the week say that his side targeted Nielsen last weekend and got some joy out of it as the last-placed Canberra side caused a major upset to beat the Storm in Melbourne. No doubt Blues coach Ricky Stuart has spoken with David.

My game plan for NSW for Game 1 would be to bomb Billy Slater, but don't bomb the wingers ... fire low projectile kicks at them instead. The Storm used to call them "Kingdom" kicks as Melbourne's Matt King was renowned for them.

The time that a bomb is in the air allows players to get numbers around them and make them more secure, while a low trajectile kick isolates them.

What the Blues have to do is to think to themselves that they have game-breakers in Michael Jennings, Mark Gasnier, Akuila Uate and Brett Morris. They are players with lots of pace, lots of skill and are potential try scorers, but they have to let the forwards lay the platform first.

The other thing I would do is to find the chapter of the book Wayne Bennett is using. I would also let Jamie Soward play like Jamie Soward ... deep. The Dragons have broken the mould with that style but maybe it should be embraced for Origin, because what has been tried in the past hasn't worked!

The one thing Queensland has that NSW doesn't is the chance to play on the emotional angle, with captain Darren Lockyer playing his last Origin series. To be fair, it is a great one to hang their hat on. 

But the Blues have plenty to play for as well and from what I see and read, there is an incredible groundswell of pride, belief and support building around and within the new Blues. Look out Queensland!