The four street fighters that can KO Maroons
You can't get by on potential in the unforgiving Origin arena; it's why Freddy had to sacrifice talent for toughness. ANTHONY GRIFFIN believes Freddy's new motley crew will strike fear into Queensland.
Angus Crichton and Payne Haas have enormous potential, but you can't get by on potential in the unforgiving Origin arena.
David Klemmer is a huge loss and Daniel Saifiti has been given the responsibility of starting in his debut.
However, the strong NSW bench will fill the void left by Klemmer.
Blues coach Brad Fittler has made the right calls by bringing in Wade Graham, Tariq Sims and Dale Finucane.
Along with Cameron Murray, these three street fighters give NSW some muscle where it was lacking in game one.
Klemmer played a lone hand in taking on the Maroons in the series opener, which is why Fittler left him out there for the first 50 minutes.
Fittler would have felt the physicality and intensity building from the Maroons and wasn't sure what would happen if he replaced his enforcer.
When Klemmer eventually ran out of juice, he found out.
Queensland lifted after halftime and, like a pack of hungry dogs, hunted down the Blues.
When the Maroons forwards felt their Blues counterparts had nothing left to give, they kept their foot on the throat of their opposition and eventually won the game.
Origin II will be different.
Queensland won't have the electric atmosphere of a packed Suncorp Stadium running through their veins, while NSW will be better prepared and have more firepower at their disposal.
Graham, Sims and Finucane are all big hitters. And while a lot of defensive techniques have changed over the years to help teams control the speed of the play-the-ball, having big hitters in your line will always be a valuable commodity.
No one likes being smashed, and these guys always have their opponents feeling a little wary of them.
When the Blues were physically challenged in Origin I, they did not respond, and it exposed the inexperience of their halves, Nathan Cleary and Cody Walker.
They were playing off the back foot, trying to get their team out of trouble.
There is a simple way out and the first step is to relish to challenge.
Which is where NSW's bench players will come to the fore. They will lift their teammates when they are introduced into the game.
They all love contact and can play long minutes. If they get hit, they will be itching for the chance to square up, and their halves will provide that opportunity this time around.
James Maloney, the little general who will be barking orders at them, has a cool head. He has seen it all before.
And with Cleary feeding off his instructions, they will provide the Blues forwards with a better kicking game. They won't wait until the last play, either.
Maloney will demand effort from his forwards, and they are good enough to respond.
NSW have copped some flak for the changes they have made for this do-or-die game.
The axing of Latrell Mitchell seemed harsh and I feel Fittler would have been rewarded if he had shown faith in him.
However, the Blues have been smart in choosing their bench, and as a Queenslander I am worried.
Perth is a neutral ground, the Blues have some added firepower in the forwards and a recalled playmaker who can help them get the job done.