The stakes are sky high and the stage is set for a stunning Game II of Origin tomorrow night in Sydney.
The NSW Blues have lost 10 of the past 11 Origin series, but are one win up this year in the three-game series after a blowout at Suncorp Stadium in Game I.
They will never get a better opportunity to raise the shield than leading 1-0 and needing just one win at home in front of 80,000 screeching fans.
And the rugby league world knows it. The pressure to deliver is monstrous - and ever-increasing as the clock ticks closer to kick-off.
The Maroons, meanwhile, have their backs to the wall, and face a seemingly insurmountable task. In other words – they’re at their most dangerous. As Blues fans will recall from their nightmares, you can never count a Queenslander out.
The men in Maroon are also bolstered by the return of legends Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater, and reinvigorated by new blood, including young forwards who are frighteningly destructive in defence and attack, and fanatically devoted to Queensland.
Both teams hit the paddock for their captains’ runs today, and the coaches shared their thoughts with the media.
Blues coach Laurie Daley said his team would attack first and ask questions later. “This team has got more points in them than the ones previously and I think for us our mindset is to attack.”
Maroons coach Kevin Walters said it was a huge test in a “hostile environment” but Queenslanders loved a challenge and they’d addressed the shortfallings from Game I.
“It’s full steam ahead again," Walters said.
‘We’re confident that we can put in a really good performance tomorrow night.”