Maroons happy to celebrate eight
It's a series that can't be won and marks the end of an unprecedented period of Maroons success but Queensland players insist the best way to 'Celebrate Eight' is with a win in Game Three of the 2014 Holden State of Origin Series next Wednesday night.
The 6-4 victory by New South Wales in Game Two in Sydney broke Queensland's eight-year stranglehold on the Origin arena but Maroons players who spoke with NRL.com said that they are happy to mark the occasion in front of their home fans.
The 49 players who have contributed to the Maroons' record run since 2006 will be formally acknowledged at half-time of Game Three and those present will then form a guard of honour as the teams run out for the second half.
The former players will also join the current team for a private dinner on the eve of the match and front-rower Nate Myles said the best way to honour the milestone is with a victory.
"My evaluation of the whole thing is that I always said I was lucky to be in this side and while it's disappointing to not be doing it with another win, we wouldn't be celebrating [the eight otherwise], if that makes sense," Myles said.
"I'm just honoured to be a part of this side and whatever way the celebrations go, hopefully with a victory, it will be a pleasure to be a part of it and I'm thankful to all the boys and coaching staff.
"I don't know when [the streak ending] is going to sink in, I haven't thought too much about it yet to be honest. My focus has been more on making sure we win this third game than celebrating what's been.
"I always think our next job is our most important one and as a side, if we want to celebrate eight, we need to make sure we approach this game like we have all the games leading up to this."
Centre Justin Hodges has been an integral figure in the Maroons squad throughout the eight straight series wins and while he admits there is a somewhat hollow feeling with the series already lost, he remains determined to ensure there is not a NSW whitewash.
"I think it's rewarding, what this team and the whole state has achieved over the last eight years," Hodges said. "It's a big effort to do what everyone's done over the last eight years but losing the series is not nice.
"It's only sunk in the last week that the streak has ended but hopefully all our supporters come out and really get behind us and we're going to go out and try and win this game. We don't want to lose 3-0."
With his future undecided, Ben Te'o may be looking at his last appearance in a Queensland jersey next Wednesday night and is as excited about Game Three as he has been in any of his previous six Origin appearances.
"I think it's going to be good for the fans to come out and be a part of it. For me, being a part of it, and the success that some of these guys have had who have been part of it for a long time, of course we want to celebrate it," Te'o said.
"It's an Origin so it's always going to be a spectacle, it's going to be a good game and we'll prepare well. Yeah we're going to celebrate what this team's accomplished but I'm excited. The series is gone but I'm still excited for this game."
Tickets are still available for Game Three at Suncorp Stadium through Ticketek.