Attitude 'no issue' as Maroons seek rare sweep
Queensland coach Kevin Walters insists there will be no need to address the attitude of his players ahead of Origin III, believing that the rare opportunity to exact a series clean sweep will be motivation enough.
Since State of Origin went to a three-game series in 1982 only four Queensland teams have won all three games in a series and only twice has it occurred with two games of the series being played in Sydney.
Resisting any urge to blood new players en masse in order to expose them to the Origin arena with the series already secure, Walters instead recalled 30-game Origin veteran Nate Myles and selected a 30-year-old debutant in the form of Gavin Cooper when he named his team on Monday afternoon.
Prior to 2010's clean sweep the Maroons had not swept a series since Paul Vautin's underdogs shocked the rugby league world in 1995 and Walters is adamant that there is no need for him to address the attitude of his players prior to Game Three.
"I don't have to address attitude with this team," Walters said.
"Everyone saw it in games one and two, their attitude towards playing for Queensland and wearing that jumper.
"That won't need any of my attention; that will come from within.
"The opportunity to come along and play Origin is a privilege and every game counts, and the game in Sydney will count very much for the Queensland team as well.
"Queensland teams have only (swept a series) four times over the 36 years that Origin's been going so it is a great opportunity. This team achieved that goal in 2010 so that's six years ago now, that's a long time in rugby league.
"It's a good opportunity for our boys to do that and we'll be making sure that we do everything right that we can throughout the week to give them the opportunity to go out and play the game of their lives."
When the margins in interstate clashes are invariably so thin any lack of intensity from either side can be heavily exploited.
Walters said that the post-game celebrations in the dressing sheds after Game Two – where "it felt like every Queenslander in the stadium was in there" – were not a mark that the series was over but the start of preparations for Game Three.
"That was a great reward for the players but now it's on to Game Three," said Walters.
"We've got to leave that behind as best we can and get on to Game Three because it will need our full attention. If we don't, NSW will get an advantage and we can ill afford to give them any sort of advantage whatsoever.
"In every Origin game there is always pressure and this one's no different. It's nice to be 2-0 but I know having spoken to a few of the senior guys they really want to have a good performance in Game Three to do their best for Queensland.
"That's what it means, playing Origin and wearing that jumper, to do your best, and that's what we'll be doing on Wednesday week.
"We saw how happy the state was after Game Two leaving here, some very proud Queenslanders, we want to try and make that happen again after Game Three."
It remains unclear exactly when Cooper will join the Queensland team ahead of his Origin debut with his wife Tenille due to give birth to their second child this week.
A number of promising 'shadow' players will also be invited into camp later in the week to get a taste of an Origin build-up but Walters said there was never any consideration towards selecting those on the cusp for Game Three.
"I've been speaking to Laurie [Daley, NSW coach] a lot through our connections on Fox [Sports] and he's not worried about next year and neither am I," said Walters, who made his Origin debut in Game Three of Queensland's clean sweep in 1989.
"We're worried about Game Three. We want to win Game Three and we need to put in a good preparation for that throughout the week to make sure that when Wednesday night comes around that our boys are ready to go."