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Elias: Confident Maroons a 'frightening' prospect

NSW legend Ben Elias says a confident Queensland team is "frightening" but believes the Blues are a "20-point better side" if they win the mental battle.

Fellow NSW great Steve Menzies rates the Maroons as dangerous all over the park and said NSW can't solely focus on stopping game one stars Daly Cherry-Evans, Cameron Munster and Dane Gagai.

Elias, Menzies, Steve Mortimer and Robbie Farah spoke at ANZ Stadium on Tuesday morning to celebrate 40 years of State of Origin ahead of Wednesday's match at the same venue.

The Blues must win to keep their shot at three consecutive series victories alive. Elias, who captained the state from 1990-91, said Queensland will fancy their chances after scoring an upset in Adelaide.

"They all believe now [that] they can win. That's the frightening part. They all believe after winning the first game," the champion hooker said.

"They never thought they would win the first game themselves. I know they didn't. Their belief now, the strength of the mind is the most powerful tool. We've got to have a stronger mind tomorrow.

"I think Freddie [Fittler] will get [NSW] right for that."

The Maroons had eight debutants last week, seven of which are set to back up. Elias thinks the coach will have the rookies primed again.

"They've got a real cool dude in Wayne Bennett," he said.

"He's been around the block a hundred times, he's won premierships, he's coached sides that no one gave any hope in the world.

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"He's got that ability to pass that onto the kids who grow and believe in themselves. You can hear Wayne Bennett talking through them.

"[But] I honestly think we're a 20-point better side. I think we'll beat them and beat them well."

Menzies, who played 20 Origins, also anticipates Bennett will know exactly the right words to get the Maroons firing.

"I suppose you can look at it from both sides and say now they're under pressure, they need to follow up, or they're still underdogs and they've still got nothing to lose," Menzies said.

"If I'm a smart man, I'd be saying Wayne Bennett will say, 'We've got nothing to lose.

"We did it last time, they'll be ready for our surprise attack this time, so it's going to be game on. It's going to be harder than that, we won't get as many opportunities, we need to be better'."

"If I was them, that's what I'd be saying. I think Wayne Bennett's saying that, plus more. He's got the most experience ... I think mentally preparing them for the whole week, he's amazing at it."

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Mortimer, the first Blues captain to win the Origin shield in 1985, is bullish about NSW's hopes so long as they're focused.

"I really do think [Queensland's] half and five-eighth in Adelaide steered everything and played quite well," he said.

"The first half, we were leading 10-nil, and I said be very careful of this because if we don't respect Queensland we can lose this game. 

"I really do think in that second half a lot of our players weren't in the area of defence. They're still a good team ... You can be a great player but you need your mind on the game to win."

Elsewhere, Elias revealed he'd messaged new Blues captain James Tedesco, who has taken over from Boyd Cordner [head knocks], to wish him well and tell him of the position's privilege.

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Elias rated skippering NSW as "the ultimate" achievement, even higher than representing Australia.

"I texted Teddy, he responded back, and I just said it's the greatest honour he's ever achieved. Winning premierships, playing for Australia ... You're the 'c' for the NSW state," Elias said.

 

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