‘Attitude and loyalty surpass strength and speed’: The Blues need to ‘out-Queensland’ the Maroons to have Origin success


If we’re really being honest, it’s little secret that Queensland, over the years, has the wood over their southern rivals when it comes to State of Origin.

As much as it pains me to admit, the old Queensland adage ‘New South Wales just don’t get Origin’ may just have some truth to it.

Are NSW fans passionate? Yes.

Is there enough talent in the Blues to beat Queensland year after year? Absolutely.

So, what are we missing, does New South Wales get Origin?

Recent form suggests the Blues win Origin games – and when they win, it’s convincing. Think back to Perth 2022, where NSW won 44-12.

Or 2021 where New South Wales blew the Maroons off the park 50-6 and 26-0 consecutively.

However, when Origin becomes an arm wrestle, a battle of wills and attrition, NSW tend to come up short. They stay in the fight, fans hope for a miracle, a Tedesco 2019 moment that rarely comes.

While the Maroons find a way to grind out famous Queensland-style victories when it matters most. Underdogs every year, victorious more often than not.

Queensland spirit is not a tangible thing, in fact, it’s not even real. It’s a myth and here’s why. Maroons coaches and selectors have less talent to choose from, based on sheer numbers.

The dominance of the Smith era is over; however, Queensland has always had a pick-and-stick mentality, which led them to choose a certain type of player. An ‘Origin player’.

Players that aren’t necessarily breaking teams wide open in clubland. Players that grew up with work ethic rather than an abundance of natural talent and ability.

Cameron Munster of Queensland celebrates a Queensland try. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The names of Nate Myles and Dallas Johnston come to mind, or Reuben Cotter and Tom Gilbert of recent fame to name a few.

These are men who suit the Origin Arena, and their work rate and attitude are rated higher than athleticism, tackle-breaking ability, and natural god given talent.

Queensland often has the right mix of generational talent, playmaking brilliance and these nuts-and-bolts players that bind them together like glue.

NSW on the other hand, have an abundance of athletes to choose from, which muddies the waters of selection year in and year out.

Every year, there is a young NSW player whose brilliance screams to be picked, lighting up the competition to become the answer for a Blues team that repeatedly struggles with the riddle that is State of Origin.

In previous years NSW have experimented and failed with exceptional talent from the NRL, with names such as Nathan Merrit, whose underwhelming origin appearance came with a glowing reference from his great mate and state rival Greg Inglis, only to be manhandled by the maroon defence on debut.

Jarrod Mullen, the heir apparent to Joey; his confidence was torn to shreds by Meninga’s men – and who could forget the most recent prodigy, Siosifa Talakai, who practically could not be tackled during his barnstorming 2022 season?

Another stifled debut from the brilliant Queensland defensive unit. X-factor in clubland, seldom transfers to the Origin cauldron.

Quite often, the reliance on club combinations and uncovering the next superstar, distract selectors from picking the right type of Origin player to do a job on Queensland.

You see, hard work trumps talent and athleticism. Attitude and loyalty surpass strength and speed.

Grit and mentality are key and this is what Queensland breeds with their selections. NSW understand this, but it is forgotten somewhere along the process of selection and build-up to a series.

Based on the QLD formula, here is my Origin Squad:
1. Dylan Edwards
2. Brian To’o
3. Tom Trbojevic
4. Bradman Best
5. Josh Addo Carr
6. Jack Wighton
7. Nathan Cleary (c)
8. Jake Trbojevic
9. Api Koroisau
10. Payne Haas
11. Liam Martin
12. Hudson Young
13. Isaah Yeo
14. Cam McInnes
15. Mitch Barnett
16. Haumole Olakau’atu
17. Junior Paulo

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The above squad defies all logic; NSW logic that is. Club combinations are out the window. X factor won’t get you a spot unless you show heart and are in form.

This is a team picked on Grit, attitude, work ethic and intimidation. X factor comes and goes, and sometimes doesn’t appear at all during an 80-minute grind.

This is a team that will work for each other, tackle anything that is maroon and will not take a backward step.

Please tear it to shreds in the comments, but this is the team to out-Queensland the Queenslanders.

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