Hyper Blues focus on clean-sweep
When the full-time whistle blows on July 9, Blues skipper Paul Gallen will step onto the podium and lift the State of Origin shield for the first time in his career.
It's been nine years since the 32-year-old made his debut in the interstate arena, almost a decade's worth of pain. And while that all ends in three weeks time, the heartbeat of the entire state reckons it might not be as sweet as he thought it would be.
"Thinking about it now, I don't think it's going to be real good," Gallen said of the thought of receiving the shield in enemy territory.
"I don't think I'll get too many cheers. [But] it'll feel good for me, anyway."
One single blow was all that was needed to end an eight-year drought in Game II, but if he's going to celebrate the win in front of a packed Suncorp Stadium baying for his very blood, then the Blues might as well sweep their leg as they do so.
"It's definitely crossed my mind now – we'd be filthy if we didn't make it a clean-sweep," said five-eighth Josh Reynolds.
"I know for a fact I don't want to lose any game. And I know this group of guys want to do the same thing. I'm sure this third camp will be more intense than any of the ones we've ever had."
Just three other NSW teams in Origin history have managed to complete the 3-0 whitewash; the last of which was 14 years ago, when centre Ryan Girdler scored a record 32 points in a 56-14 Game III beatdown at Homebush.
And in a good omen for Gallen and his teammates, the other two cleansweeps involved two victories on Queensland soil in 1996 and 1986.
Game II hero Trent Hodkinson said he had every confidence in his team to go on with the job.
"For sure. Although the series is won, we'd like to go up there and do a whitewash," he said.
"So we'll go back to our club now, work hard for the Bulldogs and go into camp for Game III and look at getting that third win. We'll be looking forward to it."
Coach Laurie Daley wouldn't be drawn on his thoughts of finishing the job at the old Lang Park, preferring his team to bask in the glory of their current achievement.
"You know what, I'm not even going there, because I think that our guys just deserve to enjoy the moment. And they worked really hard," he said.
"I'm happy that they got to experience what a lot of people have done playing for NSW and something that I'll look back at the end of their career and this team will always be remembered. They'll always be remembered because it was the team that stopped this great Queensland side."