Blues never worked harder for a win
Blues players Trent Merrin and Robbie Farah say they've never worked harder for a win than the 12-8 triumph in a brutal 2014 State of Origin opener at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
Merrin lauded the tough win but said NSW never lost belief they could hold out despite an avalanche of second-half possession to the Maroons that looked every chance of carrying the home side to another late, heartbreaking win.
"We knew that the only team that was going to beat us was ourselves. We knew it was going to come down to that final few minutes, it always does. Origin games are always built on the last-minute efforts. I couldn't be prouder of the boys," Merrin told NRL.com after the win.
Asked if he's ever had to work harder for a win, he laughed: "No way in the world! As soon as you put that sky blue jersey on you know you're in for a tough one."
As one of several Blues players, along with inspirational skipper Paul Gallen, targeted for some extra tough love by the home side, Merrin said that's what Origin is all about – getting smashed and getting back up.
"It's a tough game out there and it's a credit to the whole team, everyone knew their job but it's not finished yet, we've still got to take it home," he said.
Farah said he also didn't remember having to work harder for a win, and that's what made it so special.
"Nothing seemed to go our way there in the second half but footy's about being tough individually and as a group. I thought we were that tonight. That's why it's so satisfying," Farah told NRL.com.
He added he was very proud of the tough and gutsy win.
However both men stressed there was plenty more work to do given the side's capitulation in Origin II last year after winning the opener.
"We were happy with winning Game One and got a little bit content," Merrin said.
"We know now, with every loss you always learn something and we definitely learned from that. They're going to come out firing like they did in Game Two last year. Like we did tonight we just have to worry about us, that's the only team that can beat us, is us."
Both men also said the best-ever preparation would stand the side in good stead once again.
"We've set the benchmark now with our preparation. We can't compromise on that in the second game, it's got to be just as good if not better," Farah said.
Merrin said the preparation for Game One was "outstanding".
"Everyone got themselves in a position to put an effort like we did tonight," he said.
Merrin said the Blues were finally ready to end Queensland's eight-year series streak: "We're over it. Everyone's sick of it now, it's gone on for too long," he said.