You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
History shows Maroons can turn around big Origin loss

In the search for inspiration ahead of a do-or-die clash at Suncorp Stadium in a fortnight's time, Maroons coach Paul Green could do worse than delve into the Origin archives and show his shattered troops some footage of gallant wins that followed galling losses.

Rather than a morbid review of Game One, 2021, how about getting out the popcorn and Choc Tops for a special screening of the series decider in 2015, when the Maroons reversed a 26-18 loss in Game Two to belt the Blues 52-6 at Suncorp Stadium.

With the series on the line, Cameron Smith's men regrouped, refocused and restored their reputation as the kings of Origin with an eight-try romp in front of 52,500 fans at The Cauldron.

And they did it without champion fullback Billy Slater, who missed the game with a shoulder injury, while Cooper Cronk was back in the team after missing the second match with a knee problem.

Another addition to the team sheet for Game Three was a powerhouse prop by the name of Josh Papalii, who hadn't played for the Maroons since the series opener in 2014 and was champing at the bit to make his mark.

Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues

Big Papa will again be a big in for Green when the 2021 series heads to Suncorp on June 27, as will Knights superstar Kalyn Ponga in the No.1 jersey.

Both know what it takes to succeed at this level and both will give their Maroons mates a lift the minute they walk into camp.

After Green's boys have lapped up the 54-point turnaround of 2015, they can then go further back in time to 2003, when the demons of a 27-4 loss in Game Two were exorcised three weeks later by a Matt Sing hat-trick and 36-6 triumph in Game Three, again at Suncorp Stadium.

Handed a debut that night by astute Maroons mentor Wayne Bennett was 20-year-old hooker Cameron Smith, making the first of his 42 Origin appearances in a pack that also featured Shane Webcke, Petero Civoniceva and Gorden Tallis.

Far from being weighed down by a demoralising defeat in Sydney that had handed NSW a 2-0 series win, the Maroons came out all guns blazing in Brisbane and raced to a 16-0 lead after 16 minutes, courtesy of two tries to Sing and one to Brent Tate.

Timana Tahu gave the Blues a sniff with a try early in the second half but Queensland found another gear and kicked right away to salvage something from the wreck and send their fanatical fans home happy.

Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues

With spirits lifted and memories of their Townsville towelling all but gone, DCE and the boys can then lap up the 2001 series decider, a magical Maroon classic featuring their coach in jersey No.9 and their much loved water boy in the No.7.

Making an emotional return to the Origin arena after answering an SOS from coach Bennett, the little maestro Allan Langer inspired his young teammates to a 40-14 win which ranks among the greatest in Queensland's proud history.

Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues

Having lost Game Two in Sydney by 18 points, the thumping victory at Brisbane's ANZ Stadium represented a whopping 44-point turnaround ... precisely the amount Green's team needs to wipe out the 50-6 loss on Wednesday night.

Apart from a desperate desire to put the pride back in the jersey, the common denominator in all three of these stunning turnarounds in 2015, 2003 and 2001 was Brisbane. Home, sweet home.

That's where the Maroons are headed for Game Two and that's where they will look to channel champions past and ride a parochial wave of support to avenge Townsville and set up a decider in enemy territory in July. 

 

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARL Commission, NRL clubs or state associations.