Forwards have to match the Blues, Langer says
Queensland assistant coach Allan Langer says the Maroons are expecting a desperate New South Wales side in tonight's opening State of Origin match at Suncorp Stadium.
The 34 Origin game veteran said Queensland were under no illusions as to how tough the Blues will be as they look to go one up in the series and strengthen their chance of ending the Maroons' eight-year Origin dynasty.
Langer said New South Wales had edged closer to a series win in recent years, bringing self-belief within the Blues camp to an all-time high.
"NSW are going to be very hard to beat and are very hungry and they have picked a great side and a wonderful bench which will create a few problems," he said.
"They have nothing to lose and they will come out and give it their best shot. They are a great chance and it's hard enough losing one Origin game, let alone eight series in a row."
Queensland has been fortunate to retain the nucleus of their side for an extended period, giving them a distinct advantage over the Blues who have continued to search for a winning combination.
Langer said that continuity reaped rewards, both on and off the field.
He said the camaraderie he has witnessed among the team over the past week was like nothing he had seen before.
"They are an extremely close group and are all great mates and I have never seen a side get on so well," he said.
"They have been superb in camp and their preparation has been first class. Once you pull on that Maroon jersey, you play for each other and there is no reason why we won't win game one."
Langer said he had been particularly impressed with the forward pack and expected them to come out firing tonight.
"It is going to be a very physical game so our forwards are going to have to match their pack which I think they will do," he said.
Fellow Maroons legend and Sunshine Coast resident Dale Shearer said the success of the NSW halves pairing of Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds would have a significant bearing on the match.
"Their halves will decide it and the Canterbury boys (Hodkinson and Reynolds) have that mongrel which is what you need," he said.
"They may get overawed, and if they do, that will decide the game."