Maroons target Penrith duo in State of Origin series opener

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·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
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Penrith Panthers duo Nathan Cleary (pictured right) and Jarome Luai (pictured left) celebrate State of Origin.
The Maroons have admitted they have studied plenty blueprints surrounding the Penrith Panthers after Nathan Cleary (pictured right) and Jarome Luai (pictured left) took them to a State of Origin series win last year. (Getty Images)

Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans has called for the Maroons to snap a five-year State of Origin drought in Sydney after studying the Penrith blueprint in camp this week.

Last year, Penrith duo Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai led the Blues to 50-6 and 26-0 wins to claim NSW back the shield last year.

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Queensland's only win came in Game Three when the Panthers' halves were missing due to injury.

And Penrith have only gone from strength-to-strength since the Origin series with the pair having won a premiership together.

This year, coach Brad Fittler picked six Penrith Panthers players in the side to play on Wednesday.

And Maroons halfback Cherry-Evans has recognised that the in-form NRL side offered the Blues a blueprint to victory in 2021.

"The more time you spend out on the field with someone naturally you're going to improve and build a good connection," he explained of their threat.

"They've done that at club level and have a few mates around them (for NSW) to help them out.

"We're pretty aware of ways we can try and limit them but it's easier said than done.

"We've given them the respect this week, but we've come back to the fact that we need to dictate how we play."

Daly Cherry Evans praises mood in Maroons camp

There is familiarity for the Maroons too, with Ben Hunt retained at hooker after starring there in Game Three last year and five-eighth Cameron Munster set to play his 15th Origin game.

The larrikin No.6 was up to his usual tricks at Queensland's final training session before flying to Sydney on Monday, heckling the captain as he spoke to media.

"Oh, Daly Cherry-Evans, big fan mate, all the best on Wednesday," he screamed from his push bike as he rolled past.

Daly Cherry-Evans (pictured) during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session.
Daly Cherry-Evans (pictured) during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Munster has arrived in camp in career-best shape and exciting form after a white-powder scandal last year saw him fined, suspended and promptly checked into a health and wellness retreat.

"He's still the same idiot that we all love," Cherry-Evans said.

"And I enjoy having Ben in the side, especially at hooker, he opens up so many options, he really is the complete package."

Cherry-Evans said one thing Slater has changed is the talk of underdog status under his watch.

with AAP

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