'Cherry on top': NSW dreaming of spot in Origin 'history books'

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read
Pictured here, NSW are aiming for a series three-peat in the Wednesday night's Origin decider.
Only two NSW sides in history have been able to win three straight Origin series. Pic: Getty

NSW stand on the verge of greatness with Anthony Minichiello insisting the current Blues can join his team from the early 2000s as one of the state's best ever.

The Blues will go in search of just their third State of Origin three-peat on Wednesday night, but must go where few other NSW sides have gone before to do so.

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NSW have won just two deciders - and just one of the past eight - at Suncorp Stadium in the 40-year history of Origin.

They must also become the first side to come back from 1-0 down twice in a row to pull off the feat, after last year's thrilling finale in Sydney.

If they do succeed, Minichiello said Brad Fittler's men will have earned their place beside his Blues team of 2003-2005 and that of 1992-1994.

"They're right in the mix," Minichiello told AAP.

"We are now trying to create a dynasty like Queensland did for all those years...

"Freddy has come in at a really good time and created a strong culture and a good lifestyle that is professional on and off the field."

Adding weight to Minichiello's claim is that Cody Walker is the only member of the Blues on the wrong side of 30.

Fittler has stuck with a core eight players since he took over in 2018, with Nathan Cleary aiming to become just the second NSW halfback to win three-straight series.

"They are in the sweet spot," Minichiello said.

"We have key players in key positions with Cleary, Teddy (James Tedesco) and (Damien) Cook. Guys who are the best in their position in the NRL.

"They're in a great age bracket where they can play together for the next three or four years.

"They can create great combinations where they come into camp and just know each other left right and centre."

It's a feat not lost on NSW.

Seen here, NSW stars Jake Trbojevic and Tyson Frizell celebrate the Blues' Game II win.
NSW bounced back from their opening defeat with a resounding win in Game II. Pic: Getty

Blues chasing rare Origin three-peat

What they can achieve was spoken about straight after game two, with all players schooled in the knowledge of how rare three-peats and successful trips to Queensland are in deciders.

"You can get in the history books almost by doing it," Cleary said.

"There's enough incentive to win the game, but that's probably the cherry on top.

"To be able to (win) a decider in one of the biggest games you can play in, it'll be pretty amazing.

"It's what people dream of."

If the Maroons can stop them, it will leave them alongside Paul Vautin's 1995 team as the state's most unlikely heroes.

They were the biggest outsiders to claim the series before it began than any other side in the TAB's history, dating back to 1998.

They lost their coach just weeks before game one while Wayne Bennett has had to contend with the likes of Kalyn Ponga, Michael Morgan and David Fifita.

Cameron Munster has barely been able to train in the lead up to the decider and their debutant tally for the series could reach as high as 14.

That's before you consider claims in the Sydney media that this is the worst Queensland side ever.

"Well it'll be a good press conference tomorrow night (if we win it)?" Bennett said on Tuesday.

"Look forward to that."

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