The fear of NSW building their own State of Origin dynasty will spur Queensland on to clinching an eighth straight series win in Sydney next week, Maroons veteran Brent Tate says.
One of only five surviving members of the victorious 2006 game three side, Tate said Queensland may be enjoying an unprecedented run but knew it could have been all so different if not for a fateful Brett Hodgson pass eight years ago.
And after experiencing Origin’s highs and lows over the past 11 years, Tate knew momentum could so easily swing toward the Blues again if their streak ended next Wednesday night.
“We were staring down the barrel of losing four straight series (in game three 2006), ” Tate said.
“That was unspeakable and unthinkable at the time.
“The run we have had is amazing but I have been part of the last three in which we were beaten so I have experienced both, the highs and lows.
“And that’s why I think it is so important to keep this run going – once it is broken it is so hard to wrestle back.”
Queensland fought back from 14-4 down with nine minutes left on the clock to break NSW’s three-series run in 2006 – and Hodgson’s heart after his wayward pass was snapped up by Darren Lockyer for the unlikely match-winner.
Tate said Queensland’s legendary never say die attitude got them over the line that night.
But the 20-game veteran centre believed something even more special had evolved under coach Mal Meninga.
“You know what it is about when you first play for Queensland but Mal gave us an understanding of what it meant,” he said.
“That’s what I have enjoyed about it (Meninga coaching). When Mal came to the team he gave it some values.
“No disrespect to the other coaches…but Mal has really taught us what it means to pull on this jumper.”
Queensland strike weapon Greg Inglis said team spirit had lifted in the Maroons camp – especially after flexing their muscle in game two’s stunning 26-6 triumph.
The Maroons may have lost 15 of their 20 games at next week’s venue – ANZ Stadium – but Inglis said team chemistry in the unchanged 17 would ensure they would arrive at the ground with no fear.
“Not at all. We know we didn’t play to our potential (in game one) and we came out and did that in game two,” he said.
“We have to go back and see what we did right before game two.”
Asked what reawakened the sleeping Queensland giant, Inglis said: “We came into game two thinking our backs are against the wall.
“We will have to revisit that (mindset).”
Just like game three in 2006.
Queensland skipper Cameron Smith said the decider would be a true test of the Maroons brotherhood created under Meninga.
“I have been lucky enough to be part of this side for 10 years. This team has got something pretty special,” he told the QRL website.
“We are all like best mates.
“And nothing is bigger than a decider.
“It is like we are preparing for war. We won’t be getting bullets fired over our heads but this is a huge battle against NSW.”
Meanwhile, the Queensland team were further buoyed by a visit from recent NFL Draftee Jesse “Tha Monstar” Williams at training on Thursday.
Williams – who was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round recently – looked like the starry-eyed Maroons fan he is when he mingled with players before vowing to cheer them on from his Brisbane family’s home next Wednesday night.