Maroons still fearsome: Daley
Blues coach Laurie Daley says he can't fault the side's preparation after a smooth week in Coffs Harbour and has shown faith in his rookies on the back of their big-game experience in Tests and grand finals.
Bulldogs forwards Josh Jackson and David Klemmer will be making their Origin debuts on Wednesday night and the fact each has represented their country and played in the 2014 NRL Grand Final loss to the Rabbitohs will stand them in good stead, Daley said on Monday.
"All Origin games are played at a different intensity to a club game or a Test match," Daley said.
"It's going to be pretty ferocious early on – they'll soon find out what it's like! You can talk to them all you like about the pace of the game and how tough it is but until they experience it they don't really know."
Daley said he hoped they younger players hadn't played the game mentally before kick-off comes around.
"The thing that gives me confidence about our young guys is they've experienced big games before. While they haven't played Origins they've played Test matches and they've played in grand finals. That's an advantage. Origin's a different and a unique beast in itself. They're about to find out!"
Daley added his side wasn't buying into any talk of Queensland struggling with a preparation disrupted by injury and illness, nor of any talk the Maroons' ageing roster being past its best.
"I can't fault our prep, I think the guys have really bought into what we want to do. They've trained really well but I think we've all been around long enough to know the other side trains well as well and it all comes down to what happens on the night," he said.
"Everyone's been quick to write Queensland off given Australia got beaten in the Test match [a 26-12 loss to New Zealand this month] but Queensland has shown, and in particular some of the guys that are on the other side of 30, that they're champions and if you kick a champion when they're down they'll always come back and bite you.
"I don't think the media have done us any favours in talking about the age of the Queensland side, I can assure you the coach of the NSW team and the players respect them a great deal."
Daley said the Blues wouldn't be reading too much into the supposed dramas north of the border, which included a shoulder injury scare to fullback Billy Slater, a reduced training week for centre Justin Hodges due to a cut foot, and most seriously the absence from training all week of Greg Inglis who was hospitalised with tonsillitis.
"While they have had some guys missing from training I think in today's environment it's too hard to put people on the field if you think they're not 100 per cent and no-one would risk anyone if they weren't 100 per cent. They'll be there on the night and they'll be 100 per cent."
He said the mighty Maroons outfit still carried their fear factor despite having lost last year's series.
"I think we all fear Queensland and we fear Queensland every time a state of Origin game's played regardless of who's in it because Queensland have pulled off some of the most remarkable victories in State of Origin history when no-one's given them a chance so we respect whoever runs out in that maroon shirt."