NSW must embrace hate to repeat 2005

NSW must embrace hate to repeat 2005

The last man to help NSW poach the State of Origin shield on Queensland turf has one simple message for the current Blues: embrace the cauldron.

Brad Fittler’s men will aim to become just the third NSW team to win a decider in the Sunshine State and the first since 2005.

Back then, Anthony Minichiello was the star, named man of the match and handed the Wally Lewis Medal as player of the series.

Minichiello still lists the match as one of his favourite Origin memories, having roomed with Andrew Johns in the build-up before the historic win.

The fullback pulled the decisive play, breaking free after six straight sets on the Blues line early in the match before they silenced the crowd with a 32-10 win.

An early silence that Minichiello still believes is crucial at Suncorp.

“We had to withstand a huge onslaught, we did that, and we went on to win that game,” Minichiello said.

The Origin story since then is well known: Four deciders in Queensland for four Maroons wins.

In 2007 and 2009 the Blues couldn’t even force live third rubbers, claiming rare wins at Suncorp Stadium in what were dead matches.

The next decider there in 2011 was over inside 35 minutes when Queensland sprinted to a 24-0 in Darren Lockyer’s farewell.

In 2012 it was a Cooper Cronk field goal that killed the Blues off five minutes from fulltime, before a 52-6 humiliation in the 2015 decider.

Most then thought 2017 would be the year for NSW, particularly after they won Game 1 in Brisbane.

But when it came to the crunch and after an injured Johnathan Thurston saved the Maroons in Sydney, Suncorp was again their fortress in the decider.

“Queensland is such a rugby league state,” Minichiello said.

“They love it, and are really parochial as fans.

“That stadium, the way it’s built the energy flows within it. It doesn’t flow out.

“It really gives them an extra boost There is no doubt about it.”

There are however echoes of the 2005 side in this current Blues team.

Assistants Danny Buderus and Craig Fitzgibbon were part of that NSW side, while coach Brad Fittler played in NSW’s only other successful Brisbane decider in 1994.

Very few current players carry Suncorp Stadium scars, with only James Tedesco and Tyson Frizell having lost a decider there before.

“We really embraced going to Queensland and winning under their crowd,” Minichiello said.

“We embraced it, loved it and wanted it. And I think that’s what Freddy (Fittler) will create as well.

“Let’s win Origin on their turf. Let’s take the Shield off them at their home ground.”

On the other side of the border, Suncorp still remains hallowed turf to even the game’s greats.

The likes of Cameron Smith remember the aura of playing on it as a 12-year-old in a schoolboy game, with that same spirit seeping through to his record 20 Origins there.

“Every Queenslander understands the magnitude of this place and then the history,” Smith said.

“I remember having people throwing XXXX Gold cans on the field when Wal (Lewis) got binned (in 1988).

“For me, it was always about the history and what the Queensland side had actually achieved on that lovely turf and wanting to go out there and replicate it.”

Now he hopes his own legacy and that of Lockyer, Thurston, Greg Inglis, Billy Slater and co can motivate the current crop.

“It meant a lot to me and the guys that are playing now, they probably watched those teams that dominated,” Smith said.

“I’d like to think they’d have the same mindset on Wednesday night when they turn up here.”

© AAP