NSW must ditch nice guys Origin act: Paulo

·2-min read

NSW prop Junior Paulo has warned Queensland the Blues are no longer prepared to play the role of 'Mr Nice Guy' as they aim to square the State of Origin series in Perth on Sunday.

The words of Blues assistant coach Greg Alexander hit home for Paulo when NSW were described as being "too nice" in the 16-10 loss to Queensland in this year's series opener in Sydney.

The Blues weren't willing to test the patience of referee Ashley Klein, who will also officiate game two, by lying over Queensland at the ruck.

But after a stern reminder, Paulo said the Blues were under no illusion as to what they needed to do at Optus Stadium.

"Brandy's right, we came into camp and reviewed that first game and it's definitely around the ruck where we can improve," Paulo said.

"We gave Queensland a lot of opportunities to attack and we've got to find ways to slow them down.

"You always do (take criticism personally) and want to use it as motivation heading into a game.

"His words were right and you want to own your job in the middle."

Queensland were so dominant in game one only one Blues forward - Payne Haas - clocked up more than 100 metres with the ball in hand.

Paulo, usually one of the best forwards at setting the tone at club level with Parramatta, only managed 27 metres from five carries.

"We lost the game in the middle and you've got to take ownership when that's your position," Paulo said.

"You've got to be able to put the team on the front foot by laying a platform."

Part of that may revolve around Paulo's implementation as an impact forward in game one by NSW coach Brad Fittler.

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has usually started Paulo, allowing him to set the tempo and bust through opposition defences with the added threat of a deft offloading game.

None more so was that evidenced than in their win over the Sydney Roosters on Saturday with Paulo clocking up a season-high 230 metres.

Since his second stint at the Eels began in 2019, Paulo has only started off the bench on three occasions.

"It's the role I've got to play and I've got to nail my job," Paulo said.

"I've got to find ways I can be better heading into this game. You want to address that straight away and get your mind focussed on owning your job.

"You've just got to want to get out there and have an early tackle or touch to get yourself into the groove.

"You've got to generate ruck speed and that comes from running hard."

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