Queensland on brink of greatness: Daley
Former NSW captain Laurie Daley claims the current crop of Queenslanders can lay claim to being State of Origin’s best if they win Wednesday’s series decider without Darren Lockyer or Billy Slater.
For the first time since kick-starting their Origin domination in 2006, the Maroons will take to the field without either Lockyer or Slater in the side.
The retired Lockyer has handed the captaincy over to hooker Cameron Smith while a knee injury to Slater has resulted in Origin’s leading try-scorer Greg Inglis being shifted to fullback for the first time in a Maroons jumper.
“I really believe this is the biggest challenge this Queensland side has faced with no Lockyer and no Billy,” Daley, who played 23 Origins between 1989-99, told AAP.
“If they win this game they can quite rightly claim this era of players is the best, just on what they’ve had to go through.”
Equally, Daley said the Blues would not be without motivation.
“Obviously NSW are looking down the barrell so to stop this (Queensland) juggernaut would be something special because they’ve been such a dominant team,” he said.
“It’s a massive challenge for both teams. If NSW win they’ll grow from halting Queensland’s dominance.
“But if Queensland win with no Lockyer and no Slater it will be a massive achievement and will confirm their greatness.
“It may knock us (NSW) around a bit.”
Queensland coach Mel Meninga, who’s been at the helm off all six series wins since 2006, said his champion side’s place in history did not depend on Wednesday night’s result.
“I think they’re already great in my opinion and I’ve been around Origin footy since day dot,” he told AAP.
Former Maroons coach Wayne Bennett, at the centre of some of Queensland’s greatest victories and best teams, said Meninga’s Maroons had already achieved Origin greatness.
“They’re on that stage already, they’ve won six in a row,” Bennett said.
“It’s one of those waste of time arguments comparing sides.”© AAP 2013
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