NSW will need to find something extra: Farah
NSW captain Robbie Farah says winning Origin I will come down to being able to find that something extra and being able to keep going when there's nothing left.
That refusal to give in was the cornerstone of the Blues' famous win last year with mammoth defensive efforts holding out the Queensland juggernaut in the opening two games, won by NSW 12-8 and 6-4 when the Blues repeatedly had to defend their own line.
"Last year's series – those games went down to the wire, we were defending our tryline over and over and I think that's what Origin football comes down to in the end," Farah said at the captain's run on Tuesday.
"You can have all your fancy plays and you can train all you want but when times are tough out there and you've got to defend your line five or six sets in a row or the penalty count goes against you do you quit or do you keep going? That's what Origin footy is about.
"It's something that was instilled in this group last year and it's something that we have to keep going."
That has been his message to younger players asking what makes Origin different to club footy, he said.
"When you think you can't go anymore you just have to find something. That's what Origin footy is about. That's what makes an Origin players and that's what will separate the teams tomorrow night."
With that said Farah praised the squad's seamless preparation, saying all boxes had been ticked and importantly all players had been able to take part in every training session – which may or may not have been a reference to the three members of Queensland's backline who have missed sessions, with centre Greg Inglis yet to complete a single training run.
However Farah also insisted he hadn't even been aware there were supposed disruptions to the Maroons' build-up until he flew back to Sydney and dismissed talk of a weakened Queensland side.
Farah didn't quite agree with his coach Laurie Daley's assessment from a day earlier that the Blues "fear" Queensland.
"Not fear, I think we respect them and we know what we're capable of. Last year's gone now and we know what they're capable of, they're going to be wanting to bounce back," Farah said.
"They're a great side and they're a champion side; no team wins eight in a row for no reason and that loss would be hurting them from last year. They'll be looking to bounce back and we're going to have to be wary of that."
But Farah did say the Blues' win last year had at least taken the pressure off that had been building over eight years.
"We had that hovering over our shoulders for eight years, those consecutive losses," he said.
"A lot of us hadn't won a series. In that sense the pressure's off. They're a great team and you always have to be on your guard against a team like that. They're always great battles.
"Last year wasn't easy, the two years before that weren't easy, the deciders they won went right down to the wire so I've got no doubt this series will be the same."
Despite that pressure easing Farah said there was no reduction in the squad's commitment and desire to win the series and no element of complacency would creep in.
"We've made sure of that right through the week at training, that's something we've spoken about as a group, something that we want to build is the trademarks and the qualities that it takes to represent NSW and wear this jersey," he said.
"That's something that you carry every day, day in day out at training. We've prepared well and that's all you can do."
Farah also stressed the importance of staying relaxed, especially for the younger players and debutants.
"It's something Loz [Daley] is very big on, that we switch on when it's time to switch on and when you're away from footy you need to switch off and get your mind off it. It's a big occasion and a long week in camp for eight days so you don't want to play your game too early. For us it's just a matter of just being relaxed and waiting for tomorrow night."
With ANZ Stadium now close to selling out, Farah hoped the last few tickets would be snapped up and a parochial home crowd would be on hand to give the side a boost.
"It's great [starting in Sydney] – game one is such an important game to have here at ANZ, a place we love playing at, the crowd that makes it very special for us and very difficult for Queensland to come and play.
"I'm hearing that it's close to a sellout and hopefully by tomorrow night it will be sold out and a very intimidating place."