Queensland's great win in Adelaide was all about the self-belief Wayne Bennett instilled in his players and I reckon they can replicate that mindset in Sydney next week.
Wayne allowed the players to celebrate what will be a famous win but with the short turnaround, he will nip that in the bud and have them ready for game two in Sydney.
He will freshen them up as much as he can and get them ready mentally.
That is what got them home 18-14 in Adelaide. It was all mental.
They can replicate that performance after tweaking a few things that need addressing. The good thing is, apart from injury, Wayne doesn’t have to change too much.
Match: Blues v Maroons
Game 2 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
In last week’s column I spoke about the belief Bennett would instil in his players and that was in evidence in spades.
Towards the end of the first half, trailing 10-0, the whole team rose to deny the Blues when they had gained the upper hand.
Bennett’s half-time speech worked wonders and in the second half we saw that belief in the players to back their ability and their skill.
Kurt Capewell, carrying a groin strain and in an unfamiliar centre position, made a break and put a superb kick in on the run. He didn’t think twice. That was belief.
Match Highlights: Blues v Maroons
AJ Brimson, who was outstanding, was on hand to collect the kick. Again, that was belief.
Wayne made the players in his inexperienced side believe in themselves.
Xavier Coates, who had a great game on the wing, said as much after the game. He backed his speed and his natural instincts to be on hand to collect a brilliant pass from Dane Gagai to score.
Gagai got rid of Jack Wighton and the way he set up that try was brilliant centre play. He’s played mostly on the wing for Queensland, but he always lifts in Origin and carved up in the centres.
The Blues looked more likely at half-time but Wayne got the boys in and told them to stick to the game plan.
He also asked the halves to step up and Cameron Munster and Daly Cherry-Evans did that to perfection and controlled the second stanza with aplomb.
Munster’s kicking game was superb. The play he put on to scoop up a loose ball at speed and keep Damien Cook at bay to get Queensland to an 18-10 lead was pure magic.
Bennett said before the match he was hoping to unearth "another Alfie". There will never be another Allan Langer of course but Munster is similar in that he is always in the game.
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There are players, and I was one of them, who slip in and out of a game. Munster, like Alf, is always in the game and he showed it once again. In Origin footy, you have to take any opportunity. Munster got one, and he took it.
The debutant forwards were outstanding. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Jaydn Su’A and Jake Friend were all on song.
The way they came out in the second half with energy and moved forward together as a unit in defence was the sign of a very confident young team.
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Already we have heard former Blues call for changes. That is their mindset, to straight away go to the negative after a close loss.
Wighton and Clint Gutherson found it difficult defending in the centres as I thought they would. If I was NSW I wouldn’t make too many changes.
I thought Cody Walker made a difference when he came on and they may play him at five-eighth and bring Ryan Papenhuyzen onto the bench. Walker is in a purple patch of form and he showed that with some nice touches.
The great thing for the Maroons is that they don’t have to change anything. The debutants would all have got a real lift out of that performance and the belief that they can do it all again.
I tipped a four-point win for Queensland before game one and in Sydney I reckon the Maroons can get home by two in a tight one.
Game two tickets start from $45 for members and $49 for general public or get your wig and experience the Blatchy’s effect from $85 for members or $90 for the general public
The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARL Commission, NRL clubs or state associations.