Josh Reynolds says NSW’s lack of superstars has been key to building the unity that guided the Blues to their first State of Origin series in nine years.
NSW five-eighth Josh Reynolds believes a lack of superstars is at the heart of the Blues’ drought-ending State of Origin series win.
In addition to eight successive series losses being rammed down their throats by Queenslanders, Blues players have had to listen to claims none of them would be good enough to play in a Maroons side.
Queensland have been able to call on Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Greg Inglis, who can all lay claims for future immortal status, for the past eight years.
They’ve also been blessed by the presence of Test stars Cooper Cronk, Justin Hodges, Sam Thaiday and Darius Boyd for most of their era of dominance.
In the Blues team, only Jarryd Hayne would be considered a genuine superstar of the game.
But Reynolds said the togetherness fostered in camp by Blues coach Laurie Daley gave his players the belief they could beat Mal Meninga’s mighty side.
“The team spirit in this team is outstanding,” Reynolds told AAP.
“From the players to the support staff, to everyone involved around the place, it’s been fantastic.
“Queensland are a great side with some of the best players to ever play the game. But we’ve managed to beat them. The bond between all these players is so tight.
“Before game one, I think we were the longest odds of any team in Origin history … no one gave us a hope … but we won the game and the belief has just grown.”
Reynolds and halfback partner Trent Hodkinson were long odds to be the starting halves at the start of the year.
But the Canterbury duo have been a key reason why the Blues are 2-0 up going into game three in Brisbane next Wednesday and looking at their first clean sweep since 2000.
“From day one, Laurie has shown trust in us,” Reynolds said.
“It was pretty daunting going up against Cronk and Thurston in Brisbane in game one so he had us taking video sessions in camp to get us used to leading the team around.
“Because he’d been there before as a player, he knew what we would be up against and it was a huge help.
“On paper, people might say that they have better players than us, but the way we held them out in game one and then won game two when we weren’t at our best … that’s pretty good.”
Representative selection is something the 24-year-old had never tasted coming through the lower grades at the Bulldogs, and he admits even he’s still struggling to comprehend what he’s achieved this year.
“To be honest, I thought I was just privileged to be playing NRL,” he said.
“Being an Origin player is pretty hard to get my head around sometimes. It’s a great thing to be part of.
“I struggled when I was a kid and never got to play rep footy as there were kids who just were much better than me.
“But now I am making up for lost time and here playing for the real Blues. It makes up for all those hard times.”