42 hours ago
Queensland firebrand Carl Webb declared it was "game on", warning NSW weren't just talking tough before Wednesday night's opening State of Origin clash in Sydney.
Former leading referee Bill Harrigan warned comments from within the NSW camp could turn Wednesday night's match into a potential powder keg.
Webb predicted rookie Blues coach Craig Bellamy would put a new spin on the game and appeal to his players' pride after losing back-to-back series to Queensland.
"It's going to be 'game on' as soon as the whistle blows," said Webb, determined to prove he's more than just an impact player after being handed injured prop Steve Price's starting role alongside Petero Civoniceva.
"Everyone knows Bellamy is an intense coach and I think he's going to bring a lot of aggression and a lot of heart to the game."
"They've come out and done a lot of talking but I think they're really fired up for this one," said Webb.
"The players will listen to Craig (Bellamy). He's a very intense coach.
"It's definitely a pride match for them, we've already spoken about that during camp.
"We've been in the same position where we've been dominated for a few years and it was time for us to dig deep and find some pride and they won't be any different this time."
With NSW hosting two games, Webb said Wednesday night's match was "huge".
"It's a massive game obviously and if we win game we put ourselves in a great position coming home to Brisbane for the second game," he said.
NSW will rely heavily on rookie No.7 Peter Wallace to give them good field position as their chief tactical kicker.
"JT's got one of the better kicking games and on a field like that a good kicking game is fairly vital," Webb said.
"The first games is about grinding it out and waiting for somebody to crack and hopefully it's not us.
"But it we don't hang onto the football, they've got strike power all over the field to make us pay."
Webb said it was up to the forwards to do their job so Thurston and Hunt could let Queensland's explosive back line loose on the Blues.
"We've got to do out job to enable them to do their," he said before Queensland trained at their Sanctuary Cove base.
"If we're on our game we'll give them their best chance to shine.
"We've got to produce our ruthless defence and hang in and scramble like we have in past years.
"We can't rely on last year's effort, we've really got to come out and pick it up again.
"You can't rest for a second or you pay for it."