Tonight the Melbourne Cricket Ground will play host to what is, potentially, the 2015 Origin series decider.
With Queensland getting the jump on the Blues in Game I, the Maroons head into the second fixture of the campaign with a distinct advantage. While Laurie Daley and his chargers may argue otherwise, the statistics simply do not lie.
Throughout series’ 35-year history, the State that has won Game I has gone on to lift the Origin shield near-on 75% of the time. Blues Captain Paul Gallen told the media on Tuesday that numbers and history is exactly that, with he and his side’s focus solely on the challenges that lay ahead.
“We’ve trained really well all week, we know if we can stick to our game plan we’ll be right,” Gallen said.
The Blues skipper missed the series opener through injury. Unable to play a role in the side that would eventually go down, the 33-year-old said he is primed to return in what is the most significant match of his 15-year long career.
“Origin just gets bigger and better every single year. To date, it’s going to be the biggest game of my career,” he said.
“It’s at a venue that is an iconic sporting ground in Australia. There’s going to be 90-odd thousand people there, and hopefully the biggest telecast watching on television.
“It’s going to be an amazing environment to play in, and hopefully I get out there and do my best.”
Queensland meanwhile will look to atone for their 2014 series loss, and a win tonight will see the Maroons claim their ninth Origin title inside the last ten series.
Queensland Coach Mal Meninga said his squad – although not complacent about the Blues’ challenge – are confident and comfortable ahead of Game II.
“We’re all relaxed about our preparation, its been a good week for us,” Meninga said.
“We’ve been warmly welcomed by the Melbournians, and all the Victorians, it’s been a great week. Our preparation has been great.”
|Origin Game II||NSW||QLD|
|1||Josh Dugan||Billy Slater|
|2||Will Hopoate||Darius Boyd|
|3||Michael Jennings||Greg Inglis|
|4||Josh Morris||Justin Hodges|
|5||Brett Morris||Will Chambers|
|6||Mitchell Pearce||Johnathan Thurston|
|7||Trent Hodkinson||Daly Cherry-Evans|
|8||Aaron Woods||Matt Scott|
|9||Robbie Farah||Cameron Smith (C)|
|10||James Tamou||Nate Myles|
|11||Beau Scott||Aiden Guerra|
|12||Ryan Hoffman||Sam Thaiday|
|13||Paul Gallen (C)||Corey Parker|
|14||Trent Merrin||Michael Morgan|
|15||Boyd Cordner||Josh McGuire|
|16||David Klemmer||Matt Gillett|
|17||Josh Jackson||Jacob Lillyman|