RICKY STUART – SUNDAY TELEGRAPH COLUMN

WOULD Queensland be able to sell-out an 84,000 stadium if they had lost six straight series? I doubt it.

Even the Maroons most loyal supporter, Chris “Choppy’ Close gave up all hope only a few years ago. “Origin is dead” he reportedly murmured after the Blues annihilated QLD by 56-16 in 2000.

So I guess it says a lot about NSW. The people, our team, the passion, when on Wednesday night at Homebush you won’t be able to move.

This is what I call tough loyalty.

When times are tough you find whose in your corner. They genuinely care.

They don’t hide their loyalty and passion for the team.

So Queensland came out during the week saying we don’t have the “mentality” to win Origin.

I cannot tell you how deeply disappointed I am to hear that. On the upside, though, I want to thank the Queenslanders for saving me from what could have been an embarrassing mistake.

Here I was happily going along in the Blues camp, coaching my players what’s required for Origin football and teaching them about the history of Origin and of the rivalry this game has been built on, is wrong, maybe I just hang up the clipboard.

Yes, I know Queensland are the authority on Origin and that it all starts and ends with them.

I even tried saying that following Origin I, when the interpretation of the game certainly seemed to prove as much, but I got shot down for that, called a whinger, even though what Queensland now seems to be saying agrees with me.

And now we don’t have the mentality.

To be honest, I’ve had a gutful of Queensland’s smugness and their fake graciousness in victory.

I see a lot of people at different times congratulating the Queensland players about how they handle victory. And some of them genuinely are humble.

But these Origin players come from all different clubs, and the old line about Mate vs Mate is not just some marketing gimmick.

Between Origin games these guys all go back to their clubs and talk to each other and the guard comes down. We’re aware of it, and to be honest we have no problem with it until they keep promoting some holier than thou attitude to the public. That’s when it gets a little irritating, to be honest.

I know the rules, though.

We’ve lost six series in a row and until we show we’re good enough to end that we’re going to have to keep enduring.

What I also know is that while Queensland always claim to have the mortgage on passion and pride not one of them has ever stepped foot inside our camp. Deep down they know what we’re building here. I know they know that.

They know we’re coming.

They don’t see what our guys go through. What they believe.

And they might argue that they’re not smug and that they’re absolutely right in their assessment of us but they won’t give one shred of absolute proof to make their case.

It seems to have upset Queenslanders that I had a meeting with the referees coaches, Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper, on Friday to clarify some of the rule interpretations from Game I.

I don’t want to go into this, most of it is highly technical and extremely boring, but it was important to us and, once again, it apparently upset the Queenslanders.

I can’t see why Queensland are upset by this.

I thought it was clear by now that I don’t know what I’m doing here and, as such, any little help I can be given should be appreciated.

It might give us a chance, which we clearly need.

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