New captain Billy Slater concedes NSW "have out-Origined us" but he thinks the young Queensland side does not deserve to finish the 2018 series on the wrong end of a clean sweep.
He wants his young Queensland team to experience "that winning feeling" he insists they deserve when he leads the side out in his final State of Origin game at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday.
After losing 22-16 and 18-14 in the opening two matches, Slater does not want a side which contains series debutants Andrew McCullough, Felise Kaufusi and Jai Arrow and a suite of inexperienced stars to have nothing to show for their considerable effort.
The 35-year-old will be on a mission when he captains Queensland for the first time, in what will also be only his second game as captain of a football side in his career.
"For a lot of these guys it is their first series and for me, it is important for them to feel that winning feeling in Origin," Slater said while attending the Maroons' fan day in Hervey Bay on Tuesday.
"The Blues have played really well and in that last game they didn't do anything brilliant, but they won the game. Sometimes you have got to do that in Origin. In our successful decade, we have beaten them just by resilience and turning up … through heart and effort.
"This group of guys deserve something to take out of this year's series and hopefully we can perform well again and it is us celebrating after the game. That is my goal for this year, not so much thinking about what might happen if we lose.
"The eight series we won in a row, there have been games where we have scraped in by two points when we shouldn't have won the game, but did somehow. That is what the Blues have done this year. They have probably out-Origined us. Hopefully, this group of guys can learn from it and become better players for it."
Slater said to captain Queensland in his final game was a "huge honour".
"Only 13 men have had the opportunity to lead this great team and this great state and I am very proud to be captain of the Queensland Maroons," he said.
"It was really close to the announcement of the team when Greg [Inglis] has broken his thumb and that was very disappointing. I'd much rather have the big fella in the centres playing alongside me.
"Kevvie called me up and told me I'd be captain if I'd like to be and it was certainly a very humbling feeling.
"There has been some great leaders who have led this team and I've been behind a few of them…Cameron Smith, Darren Lockyer and Greg. They've done a great job and hopefully we can get something out of this series. We've put a lot of effort in and played really well for the majority of it but we've got nothing to show for it at the moment.
"It would be a really nice finish to the series if we could take some enjoyment and some success out of this year.
"I've never been captain before, so that's going to be special. It is my last game and that is never going to happen again and has never happened before so it is going to be a memorable day for me either way. My focus is on playing well. The rest will take care of itself."
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 3 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
- Nine Network
The Melbourne Storm star said captaincy at club or representative level had never been on his radar.
"I have never been ambitious to be a captain," he said.
"I don't know whether that is because I have always had Cameron in my team. I guess my leadership has evolved naturally as it does for people throughout their career.
"My game doesn't change. My approach doesn't change. The only thing that has changed is that we don't have as many experienced people around me. We have got quite an inexperienced side and that is the only thing that will affect my preparation this week."
Origin at Suncorp, there's nothing like it! Game III tickets available here