Queensland captain Cameron Smith admits overconfidence may be a problem for the all-conquering Maroons in the Origin opener.
Complacency may finally become a problem for all-conquering State of Origin champions Queensland, frank Maroons captain Cameron Smith says.
But the Maroons skipper hoped the depleted New Zealand Test team’s recent heroics reminded overwhelming favourites Queensland that no one could be written off in rugby league.
There were warning signs for Queensland when the reigning eight-time series champions appeared to ditch their humble facade in a maligned team announcement at Suncorp Stadium on Monday night.
Instead of their usual low-key ceremony, players were paraded on a catwalk amid a light show and a booming soundtrack, starting with famous boxing ring announcer Michael Buffer’s line “let’s get ready to rumble”.
While Smith thought it was just a bit of fun, he was concerned his team would drop their guard in the May 28 opener against a largely written-off NSW side hit by injuries, suspension and off-field drama.
Alarm bells were ringing for Smith despite Queensland preparing for a home game marking Origin match No.100 and honouring the late Arthur Beetson by retiring the No.11 jersey for the night.
“It (complacency) is something that could cause us some issues,” Smith said.
“The team has won eight in a row and it can’t afford to think `we are back home, playing in the 100th game, the crowd will get us home and it will be OK’.
“It’s not going to happen like that.
“We need to sit down and have a chat about our direction for this camp and what we need to do to give us a chance of playing well and hopefully getting a victory straight up.”
Smith believed the effort of a Kiwi team, packed with inexperienced Test players, in the recent 30-18 trans-Tasman loss provided a glimpse of what was to come from a NSW side with “nothing to lose”.
“Look back at the Test match, see what everyone was saying about the New Zealand selections,” he said.
“They had so many debutants, it was going to be a romp but they proved a lot of people wrong didn’t they?
“There’s no doubt the guys they picked for NSW are going to have a red-hot crack.
“Don’t think because we are playing at home and we have a great side it is going to be a walkover.
“These games are won on a special effort from a few blokes in a five-second moment.
“They can go either way. We know that. We have lost games and won games on those moments.
“We know it is going to take a special effort to win.”
Smith seemed bemused that their team announcement had earned criticism south of the Tweed.
“If the boys had it their way, they would have (coach) Mal (Meninga) read out a team sheet and that would be it and we wouldn’t have had to do any of that last night,” he said.
“But it’s a way of building a match up.
“It’s a big occasion. It’s the 100th State of Origin game.
“I am sure there are a few critics out there but I am sure there were a few who enjoyed it as well.”