Queensland veterans Sam Thaiday and Greg Inglis are urging their Maroons teammates to avoid a State of Origin whitewash and build for next year’s campaign.
It’s their first taste of defeat in a long time and Queensland don’t like it.
Their remarkable eight-year State of Origin streak over, the Maroons are planning to show NSW they’re far from a spent force in next week’s series finale in Brisbane.
Maroons back-rower Sam Thaiday had never experienced a series loss in his seven prior Origin campaigns and admits coming into camp this week had involved different emotions.
He says the aim now is to prevent a series whitewash and show the Blues the Maroons are going to bounce back and reclaim the Origin shield next year.
“All we have is this third game,” Thaiday said.
“It’s our vision going forward … to win this third game and get a bit of pride back and re-focus for next year when it’s our turn to chase.
“We’ve still got visions and dreams for the future to win more series.
“Yes, the streak is over but this team and what we’ve built is nowhere near dead.”
Thaiday lauded the Blues impressive defensive efforts in games one and two, which have restricted the Maroons to just two tries so far in the series.
He says it’s noticeable how much this year’s NSW team has worked hard for each other compared with previous campaigns.
“Their defence this series has been the best,” Thaiday said.
“I’ve been a part of a lot of physical battles in Origin but when one team can hold you out and hold you out, set after set, that’s more mental than anything.
“You can cop a big tackle, bounce up and play the ball. But when a team stops you scoring time after time, that kind of breaks you.”
As the Blues enjoyed a day off, the Maroons ramped up their match preparations on Friday with an opposed session against a local Queensland Cup team at their Gold Coast camp.
The hit-out gave further evidence Cooper Cronk will be fit to play despite it only being five weeks since he broke his left arm in game one.
It also gave the Maroons a chance to fine-tune their stuttering attack.
Centre Greg Inglis, normally a try-scoring machine at Origin level, is entering next week’s game without a try since game two of last year’s campaign.
The outside-back played down any concern that his mini-drought might be frustrating him, however.
“That’s part of Origin and what Origin is about,” Inglis said.
“We haven’t been to the best of our ability but we’re not taking away any credit from NSW.
“They have played exceptionally well.”