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3 days ago
Retired NSW enforcer Mark Geyer has challenged Blues prop Luke Bailey to get square with Queensland opposite Carl Webb in Origin II on Wednesday week.
Geyer says Bailey and his front-row partner Jason Ryles need to step up their aggression in a bid to intimidate the Maroons pack if NSW is to square up the series at Telstra Stadium.
The Blues forwards were outpointed by the bulky Queensland pack in Origin I and there's a lot of pressure on Ryles and Bailey with selectors again deciding not to back them up with a specialist prop on the bench.
Geyer called on lock Ben Kennedy to lead the way for the Blues pack and said the two props must follow his example.
"Selectors should've had a quiet word in the ear of both Ryles and Bailey and said `boys this is your last chance', like they did to me back in `91," he added.
"If you don't pull your finger out, then say goodbye to ever wearing that sky-blue jersey again.
"Someone in that Origin team - and I think it's got to be Ben Kennedy - has to say `boys, do as I do, not as I say. Just follow me'."
When asked if Bailey should look to rattle the fiery Webb from the outset, Geyer told League Correspondent: "He's got to, especially if Carl Webb starts the game, which I don't think he will.
"Bailey has to be fully aware that the eyes of the nation are going to be on him and how he responds to Carl Webb.
"He has to get over the top of him whichever way he can."
Webb clearly got the better of Bailey in a passage of play in game one in which the North Queensland forward landed a cheap shot on the Dragons prop and then jolted the ball loose from Bailey in a bone-crunching tackle.
"That was the turning point of the game," Geyer said.
"Bailey was dominated by Webb and the forwards felt the impact.
"We were probably a 10- to 12-point worse team than they were on the day."
Geyer said he expected fireworks between Webb and Bailey because it "takes a pretty heinous act to get sent off in State of Origin".
"While we don't condone cheap shots and foul play, we do encourage aggression and enthusiasm and that's something that was lacking from our forwards in game one," said the former Penrith firebrand.
"It's all about attitude. It's about who wants it the most.
"In game one Carl Webb and Steve Price wanted it more than Luke Bailey and Jason Ryles wanted it."
With Bulldogs pair Mark O'Meley and Willie Mason injured and Penrith's Joel Clinton out of form, NSW selectors had little choice but to stick solid with the Dragons props.
Queensland selectors have named Webb in the starting pack in place of the injured Price (knee).
"It was quite an unfortunate incident but it's forgotten about it now," Bailey said about his tussle with Webb.
"It'd be nice to get over the top of him but he's a big player and he's been playing well.
"It's no personal thing for me, it's just a big team battle."