Home ground advantage will count for little: Smith
They might have won the all-important Holden State of Origin Game One on Wednesday night, but Queensland players aren't getting ahead of themselves by declaring the series done and dusted.
The team that has won the opening game of an Origin series has gone on to lift the shield on 25 occasions, and with Game Two set to be played at Suncorp Stadium, Queensland's 10th series win in the past 11 years appears to be a fait accompli.
Not so, according to Maroons skipper Cameron Smith.
Despite having won seven of the past eight matches at Suncorp, Smith said it would be foolish to think that home ground advantage would get his side over the line in three weeks' time.
"It's nice to be one-nil up, but if we think that being one-nil up and playing at home is going to get us the victory, we'll be embarrassed," Smith said after the match.
"Being one-nil up and going back to Brisbane, that's not going to help us win the match.
"You ask any player that plays in our competition, they all love playing at Suncorp. It doesn't matter whether we've got 50,000 Queenslanders there, it's not going to make the Blues play any worse. They'll be ready to play and they'll be better than what they were tonight.
"The boys just need to enjoy tonight, go away and play for their respective clubs for the next couple of weeks, and when we get back into camp – hopefully we can all be back there again with the same team – we'll get our preparation set for that one."
Blues skipper Paul Gallen knows his side will face a monumental task if they want to square the series in enemy territory but has vowed to leave no stone unturned heading into Game Two.
"It's tough going to Queensland to try to win so we've got to make sure we go up there and prepare well and do the best we possibly can. We'll do that," Gallen said.
The Blues were in the contest on Wednesday night and had their chances to steal a late victory but couldn't land the knockout blow against their more experienced rivals.
Going into the game with two debutants in the attacking spine was always going to be a challenge for the Blues to overcome, but NSW coach Laurie Daley is confident they will only improve as the series progresses.
Daley was pleased with what he saw from the halves pairing of Adam Reynolds and James Maloney but knows they will need to do even more if the Blues are to have any chance of turning Game Three into a decider.
"There were some really encouraging signs from us because we are a young team, we've got a lot of new blood," he said.
"We always knew they were going to get better as the series rolled on. We've got to get it right and beat Queensland.
"I think our attack could certainly improve. It's always difficult in your first Origin game coming up against a great team. They'll get better – and they need to get better. We all need to get better. All is not lost yet.
"We had a new seven, six and one and I think most coaches will tell you when you're putting a spine together, it takes a bit of time. They'll be better in Game Two."
*This article first appeared on NRL.com