Boyd Cordner (L) and James Maloney celebrate after Josh Addo-Carr scores a try during Origin I. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Boyd Cordner (L) and James Maloney celebrate after Josh Addo-Carr scores a try during Origin I. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Ennis: The sign NSW won’t repeat past mistakes

ORIGIN II, 2017. It's the game NSW let slip after blowing Queensland off the park in the State of Origin series opener.

They had the chance to break the Maroons' stranglehold, but as history shows, let their interstate rivals score late and send the series to a decider which they eventually lost.

Now the new-look Blues, led by coach Brad Fittler, find themselves in the exact same position after winning Game I of the 2018 series.

It's been well documented how Fittler has ushered in a new era, blooding a record 11 debutants who all performed superbly in rugby league's toughest arena.

But how can Blues fans be sure their hopes won't be dashed again?

Former NSW hooker Michael Ennis says he saw the blueprint on Wednesday night at the MCG when Fittler's men saw themselves down 12-8 early in the second half.

"We've always been strangled by Queensland once they've got their nose in front," Ennis said.

"Whether we've started well or whether things have gone our way, somehow that great Queensland side's always found a way to get in front at different stages of the game.

"At 12-8, I thought 'this shouldn't be happening', but that was when James Maloney and James Tedesco really stood up and grabbed hold of the game.

"The most pleasing thing was they continued to attack and they had the smarts not to try and find a cheap try.

"They earned their tries through the middle.

James Maloney was key for the Blues in Origin I. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)
James Maloney was key for the Blues in Origin I. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy) TRACEY NEARMY

"If you listen to blokes like Gus Gould and Wayne Bennett talk about where Origin games are won, and they always talk about the middle third of the field.

"That was the blueprint in Origin I, we really did our damage through that part of the field.

"Tedesco was enormous, Damien Cook was enormous, I thought Jake Trbojevic was a real unsung hero, Boyd Cordner and Tyson Frizell were strong and Jack de Belin was cracking blokes defensively."

Ennis warned the Maroons still had the firepower to bounce back, but believed the 'baby Blues' could produce an even more impressive performance in game two.

"Queensland aren't as far away as some people might be thinking," Ennis said.

"But we've got a lot of improvement in us too around execution.

"It was the first game of the series, a lot of debutants and they've got that out of the way now.

"That confidence and winning becomes a habit. Their memory of Origin is a win so in the next two weeks they'll be full of confidence.

"There's no pressure on them to make sure they go back (to club football) to find form to make sure they'll get picked again.

"When they get back into camp, they know they're playing to win a series and that'll bring out the best in them."


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