NSW prop James Tamou says the 2014 series win is the highlight of his career to date, as the side look to earn a clean sweep at Suncorp on Wednesday night.
Tamou told NRL.com the accomplishment hadn’t really sunk in but the side would now look to put an exclamation point on the series with a clean sweep in Brisbane.
Above all he said he was happy for players like captain Paul Gallen who had been there through so many of the hard times.
“Not having won an NRL premiership, this is definitely the highest accomplishment of my career so far,” Tamou said.
“I'm just happy for the boys, especially guys like Gal, the guys that have been here for a long time, I'm just happy for them.”
He said he’d never seen an outpouring of emotion from players after a game like what happened following the series-clinching win in Sydney, with many senior players in tears and overwhelmed with emotion.
“I have not seen something like that. When the hooter went, we were hugging each other and that, it still hadn't sunk in then. When I saw the tears of the boys that's when it sunk in and when I knew how much it meant to them,” he said.
“Everyone's talking about Game III and being a whitewash but we've accomplished something that kids these days haven't seen before. I know [coach Laurie Daley] is super proud of what he's done and he's done a wonderful thing here.”
He said Daley has given “an arm and a leg” to the team.
“Just the words he speaks, he's super confident in us and just the words he puts in our minds [give us confidence]. All the credit to him and what he's done with the boys.”
He said Queensland will be looking to claw back some pride in the final game. “But we'll be looking for one more for a whitewash just to put an exclamation point on it and just to show there's a sea of change. The boys we've got here right now are willing to do the job.”
Tamou said he couldn’t put his finger on why Queensland no longer seemed to have a mental edge over the Blues but credited the tightness of the NSW playing group for their achievements.
“It’s just a few times a year we get together for a couple of weeks but I really feel like these guys are my close friends. I care about these guys so much and obviously that showed [in the two wins], putting a team of players together and getting the win is a very big thing so I'm just so proud of these boys and happy to be a part of it.”
He said it was mental will rather than footballing skill that got the side over the line in a scrappy Game II.
“Most of the time we were just defending; we made a few errors there and we were just defending that. I think our will got us over the line there. People talk about our skill but instead of our skill I think this time it was the will that everyone put in there.”
He said after Queensland’s eight years of dominance, it was good to earn a series win for the NSW players that had participated over that time and hadn’t been able to get a win.
“There's been a few captains, players, coaches over the years. We're representing the state, we're representing five million people and it's just an unreal feeling.”