Blues forward Paul Vaughan.

'Bring out the broom': Blues aim for Origin sweep

Paul Gallen raised the 2014 State of Origin shield at a ghost town-like Suncorp Stadium four years ago and Boyd Cordner doesn't mind if it's an empty venue again on July 11.

"Look, it doesn't really matter. You don't need a big crowd to motivate you to play Origin," the NSW skipper said.

Other NSW players NRL.com spoke to said it didn't matter if they faced a depleted and disrupted Queensland side – the Blues' second Origin series win in 13 years was earned fair and square.

"In Origin if you put anyone in there it's a world class team," Paul Vaughan told NRL.com.

"I don't read much into that with all their injuries and stuff. You can't take any team lightly, in club competition but especially Origin.

"Injuries just mean someone as equally talented and enthusiastic comes in and does a great job. You're always on your toes and you play the best you can no matter who you face." 

Paul Gallen raises the 2014 Origin shield.
Paul Gallen raises the 2014 Origin shield. ©NRL Photos

Game three of the 2018 Holden State of Origin series has another Queensland team covered in band-aids.

In game one they lost Billy Slater (hamstring) after the 11th hour retirement of Cameron Smith. In game two they lost Michael Morgan (torn biceps).

Game three has no Greg Inglis (thumb) or Kalyn Ponga (hamstring).

There's a school of thought that if Origin III had been a "live" match, NSW would win anyway almost by default because the Maroons were in such disarray with a new skipper, new centre and new halfback.

NSW lock Jack de Belin doesn't subscribe to the theory a Blues victory on July 11 would be a fairly hollow one. 

"I don't necessarily look at it that way. We knew we needed to wrap up the series in game two as it would be a tough ask up there in Brisbane," de Belin told NRL.com.

"I know Queensland have a few names out but they are tougher when they're the underdogs, with their backs against the wall. And that's exactly what they are now.

"It might have worked against us, as you could say, because they are stronger now for game three.

"But we still intend to win – bring the broom out for the clean sweep. We've still got a lot of motivation."

As for an empty stadium, neither de Belin or Vaughan care.

"We loved wrapping up the series here in front of our home fans," de Belin said.

"It would have been awesome to have the trophy presented that night. It's still coming our way but it would be extra sweet to get the victory up there, even if we're celebrating among ourselves."

Vaughan added: "We play for one another so it would be just as special crowd or no crowd.

"When we hold that shield up nothing will be worrying us. We'll have a real sense of accomplishment among the boys." 

Blues forward Jack de Belin.
Blues forward Jack de Belin. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

De Belin and Vaughan had another reason to smile when the NSW game three side was read out. Their Dragons teammate Tariq Sims was named to play off the bench after being 18th man for the first two games.

"It's a hard thing to be 18th man, especially when we're having so much success," de Belin said.

"He's been a part of it all, but at the same time he's not really because he didn't get to take the field.

"His time has come. If you need something out of someone, he's your man. He comes up with a big hit or a line break."

Vaughan said: "I'm stoked for Taz. He's deserved it for a very long time. He's one of the form back rowers in the comp right now."

Match: Maroons vs Blues

Game 3 -

Full Time
Maroons

Home Team

Maroons

Scored 18 points
Blues

Away Team

Blues

Scored 12 points

Venue: Suncorp Stadium

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network