ONE of the most anticipated Origin series in years is nearly here with both the mighty Blues and the marauding Maroons having their final training sessions behind closed doors at Stadium Australia tomorrow (4 June).
It concludes the buildup to one of the most intriguing Origin series in years as the Blues, who have a few fresh faces and a rookie Origin coach in Laurie Daley, attempt to stop the Queensland juggernaut for an eighth straight year.
Stadium Australia will turn blue with a spectacular laser light show, Central Station is dressed in blue and the entire state of NSW is ready to get behind NSW coach Laurie Daley in the final countdown to Origin I in Sydney on Wednesday 5 June.
The Stadium will unashamedly be a pro-Blues cauldron as NSW attempt to end Queensland’s seven-year Origin stranglehold.
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NSW Coach Laurie Daley has named his team. Here is the Blues 17:
Fullback: Jarryd Hayne (Eels). Wing: Blake Ferguson (Raiders), Brett Morris (Dragons). Centre: Josh Morris (Bulldogs), MichaelJennings (Roosters). Five-eighth: James Maloney (Roosters). Halfback: Mitchell Pearce (Roosters). Hooker::Robbie Farah (Tigers). Front row: Paul Gallen (c) (Sharks), James Tamou(Cowboys). Second row: Luke Lewis (Sharks), Ryan Hoffman (Storm). Lock: Greg Bird(Titans). Interchange: Trent Merrin (Dragons), Anthony Watmough (Sea Eagles), Andrew Fifita (Sharks), and Josh Reynolds (Bulldogs).
Queensland Coach Mal Meninga has also named his Maroons:
Billy Slater (Storm), Darius Boyd (Knights), Greg Inglis (Rabbitohs), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Brent Tate (Cowboys), Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys), Cooper Cronk (Storm), Matt Scott (Cowboys), Cameron Smith (c) (Storm), David Shillington (Raiders), Nate Myles (Titans), Sam Thaiday (Broncos), Ashley Harrison (Titans). Interchange: Corey Parker (Broncos), Matt Gillett (Broncos), Ben Te’o (Rabbitohs), Chris McQueen (Rabbitohs), Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles), Josh Papalii (Raiders).
The northern end of the Stadium is guaranteed to be a sea of blue once again for Origin I on Wednesday 5 June, as all 15,000 Blatchy’s supporters make sure Laurie and his men can see their wigs in force and hear their mighty cries. The Maroon Crusade will no doubt be fighting back just as hard in an attempt to take away any home ground advantage as they shoot for another series title.
The colour and noise of a packed Stadium Australia is a scene that has fast become iconic in the Australian sporting landscape and will no doubt be enhanced by the Stadium’s new addition – one of the world’s most advanced, state-of-the-art $3 million sound system.
For the first time since 2010, Sydney will host two Origin games with the Blues opening their campaign against the Maroons at a packed Stadium Australia on Wednesday 5 June followed by a potential series decider at the same venue in Game III on Wednesday 17 July.