The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
4 days ago - 2 Likes
Queensland players are threatening a torrid night for champion Blues halfback Andrew Johns in Wednesday's State of Origin decider.
The Maroons received a significant boost with proven hit man Tonie Carroll added to the team after playing 50 minutes of Brisbane's 22-10 win over the Sharks in his first game for a month following a calf injury on Sunday.
Carroll, who made 16 first-half tackles and a long break early in the second half, could start at lock ahead of Chris Flannery.
Carroll's teammate Casey McGurie will join the Maroons as 18th man.
"It's a great honour and I'll wear the maroon jersey with pride," said Carroll after his coach Wayne Bennett delivered the good news after consulting with Queensland selectors chairman Des Morris soon after the game.
"It's a massive honour they kept a spot open for me."
The blockbusting defender denied his mission would be to wipe out NSW playmaker Andrew Johns.
"I'm not going to worry about his game, I never worry too much about the opposition," he said.
The biggest thing to emerge from analysing video of Origin II in Sydney last month was the way NSW managed to "hide" Johns from Queensland and how ineffective the Queenslanders were in roughing him up and making him work defensively.
Some of that had to do with referee Stephen Clark's massive 10 metres which made it almost impossible for Queenslanders to get out of the defensive blocks and get their hands on Johns.
But even when they did get close enough to him to hit him, they seemed like startled rabbits as Johns mesmerised them time and time again.
"There's not many players who can do it (mesmerise you) I suppose," said centre Paul Bowman who racked a game high 40 tackles in the 32-22 loss in Sydney last month when Johns was almost untouchable.
"He's got so many options you start to second guess yourself a little bit.
"You think to yourself 'Is he going to pass, or kick, or dummy, or step?, he's just got so many attacking options at his disposal.
"If you're on the back foot and not able to get off the (defensive) line it just makes your decision making even harder and gives him more time."
In that regard, the re-appointment of first game referee Paul Simpkins over Clark could help Queensland get to Johns a little quicker because Simpkins has a different idea of 10 metres.
Forward leader Petero Civoniceva said Queensland had some ideas to make life less comfortable for Johns.
"They placed him out a bit wider in Sydney and it was pretty hard for any of our big forwards to get at him," he said.
"We'll look at the video and look at ways of stringing a few passes together to a little wider and make him work a bit harder in defence and hopefully chew up a bit of gas.
"With Ash (Ashley Harrison) in the side, he likes to work a little bit wider on the fringes and hopefully we can generate a bit more attack on the edges and pull Johns into work harder in defence.
"TC's proven at this level and I know how much he loves to get at those kind of blokes," said Civoniceva before Carroll was confirmed at Queensland's 17th man.