Smith promises Blues a taste of their own medicine

Queensland’s critics may suggest the Maroons are getting a bit long in the tooth but they aren’t too old to learn some new tricks, even from New South Wales.

The early verdict on the Maroons team for game was that it was light on muscle from the bench, with no specialist frontrowers being held in reserve.

But Queensland captain Cameron Smith said the inspiration for the mix of Ben Te’o, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker and Chris McQueen partly arose from the Blues, whose smaller bench forward have proven troublesome to the Maroons in recent clashes.

And while Queensland has moved towards a more mobile approach for 2013, the Blues have taken a step back towards a more traditional interchange platoon, featuring a utility in Josh Reynolds, backrower Anthony Watmough and powerhouses Trent Merrin and Andrew Fifita.

Laurie Daley’s vision of how he wants the Blues to play clearly differs from Ricky Stuart, who went into game three last year with Tony Williams, Ben Creagh and Luke Lewis alongside Watmough, whose speed and impact have been difficult to handle for the Maroons.

Smith said he had complete faith in the bench to compete physically and hoped the more mobile additions would turn the table on the Blues late in the halves.

“I know in previous years we’ve gone with three really big blokes who can get us going forward. But these guys, they can push up if we need them to and they’re all backrowers,” Smith said.

“It’s what NSW has done over the past couple of years and we’ve probably found that they’ve troubled us a bit with those smaller guys and more leg speed and lateral movement.

“I’m really happy with the bench that we’ve got. They’re pretty dynamic there. Hopefully they can have an impact on the game.”

A faster ruck speed would help the Queenslanders deploy players like Te’o and Gillett more potently. NRL referees have watched the ruck like a hawk this season but Smith was unsure how much latitude there would be in Origin, where the whistle is typically used more sparingly.

“I guess we’re going to have to see the referees in the first 10 minutes or so to see what they are allowing. State of Origin, traditionally, is a little bit slower. They allow a little bit more work on the ground,” Smith said.

“As long as it’s the same for both teams, I’ve got no dramas. But I think both players and fans would like to see a free-flowing game rather than referees pull their whistle out every two minutes.”

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