Despite the QLD Maroon’s dominance of the series for the past seven years, Mal Meninga’s men go into the match underdogs, with the Blues slightly ahead as the bookie’s favourite.

“We know there is a lot of hard work to be done,” said NSW coach Laurie Daley ahead of his first Origin in charge against his former Canberra Raiders teammate.

“We need to get out there and play to our potential. We know the huge challenge we’re facing but know we will be ready.”

NSW legend Steve Mortimer told the Daily Telegraph: “If they want it bad enough, they have to go and bloody well get it.”

Daley paid tribute to Meninga’s side, but is backing is mobile pack to do the job.

“[They have] five or six of the game’s greatest players, but all we can be is ready,” he said. “It’ll come down to the 80 minutes and we’ll see what we’ve got.”

Meninga is as always playing down his side’s dominance, but says any nerves can be channelled positively.

“It’s like a duck on top of the water,” he said. “You’ve got the legs going quickly but you try to portray that you’re calm and calculated but you get anxious.

“I think nerves is a good thing. Nerves tells you that your head space is in the right area and you want to do well, that’s what nerves tells you.

“You want to do well for your team and you – you just keep on being calm. That’s what happens when you’re a coach, just keep on being calm.”

Watch it live on Premier Sports from 10.30am.

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