Blues' mental battle to win Origin decider
New South Wales back-rower Ryan Hoffman has urged his teammates to break free of the shackles of the past and carry their Game Two desperation into the 2015 Holden State of Origin Series decider at Suncorp Stadium on July 8.
An Origin series has gone to a Game Three decider on 17 occasions since 1982, and the Blues have been victorious on just four occasions, with Hoffman a member of beaten NSW teams in 2008 and 2013.
The last time NSW won a Game Three decider was the 2005 Series that served as the precursor to Queensland's record winning run and Hoffman believes much of that can be attributed to a cautious approach.
Rather than taking the game by the scruff of the neck – as they did in such convincing fashion at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Game Two last week – Hoffman believes that the Blues have been guilty in the past of not adopting a winning mentality in deciders, an old habit they cannot afford to fall back into again this year.
"Sometimes New South Wales have been guilty previously of trying not to lose it rather than trying to go out there and win it and that's what I think the difference was on Wednesday night," Hoffman said of his team's 26-18 win that kept the series alive.
"We didn't go out there to try not to lose it, we went out there to win the game and I think it showed by the amount of footy that we actually played.
"We moved the ball around a bit and it paid off for us. We'll go in and pick up on certain things and we'll have the same mentality because we know Queensland will. They're going to go in trying to win it so we have to as well."
Having played a Test match for Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground and in a Challenge Cup Final with Wigan at England's famed Wembley Stadium, Hoffman said adding the MCG to his resume will rank as one of the highlights of his career.
From the most iconic ground in Australian sport to the best rectangular football stadium in Australia, the Blues must now travel to Suncorp Stadium where in 2005 Andrew Johns was at his commanding best as the Blues won Game Three 32-10.
Although it now appears as though Josh Jackson is unlikely to be taking part due to suspension, more than 50,000 passionate Queenslanders will be ready to welcome the young Blues forwards into enemy territory, a prospect welcomed heartily by Hoffman.
"I don't care if the decider's played in someone's backyard. It's a very special thing to win a series and I was lucky enough to be a part of it last year... Where the decider is is where it is, we can't control that," said Hoffman, the first Warriors player to be picked to play for NSW.
"I think it's different to last year when we had the great win at Suncorp and finished it off at home. We've got a chance to be a part of a decider; New South Wales haven't won a decider in a long time so we're looking forward to being a part of that.
"There's a good feel around the place but we're not getting too far ahead of ourselves either. We know the task that's in front of us; it's daunting but it's exciting as well.
"'Klem' (David Klemmer) has never played at a packed Suncorp Stadium, Josh Jackson's never played at a packed Suncorp Stadium so those guys are going to be really excited to get into camp just like we all are."