'Weakest in 40 years': Queensland cop it before State of Origin opener

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·2-min read
Wayne Bennett stands and watches during the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain's run.
Maroons coach Wayne Bennett works with his team during the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain's run. (Getty Images)

Just hours before the first State of Origin match the Queensland team has been labelled the ‘weakest in 40 years’.

The Blues have won two State of Origin’s in a row and are heavy favourites to win three after picking a strong side.

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Queensland called on veteran coach Wayne Bennett to take over after the sudden departure of Kevin Walters only weeks before Origin.

Coupled with a string of major injuries and a young team, The Daily Telegraph writer Dean Ritchie has sunk the boot into Queensland.

He said when you compare it to previous teams, this one lacks a fear factor and he called them the ‘weakest’ outfit in 40 years.

“I’ll go on the record now to say this is the weakest side in 40 years of State of Origin,” he said on Sky Sports’ Big Sports Breakfast.

“That’s not to say they won’t come back to bite me on my chubby little backside because that’s what Queensland do but you look at that side, it’s not disrespect to any of them, if you look back a decade ago.

“It was an intimidating, frightening side. You look at the side now, it just doesn’t have that fear factor at all.”

Despite the predictions, halfback Daly Cherry-Evans said the team relishes the underdog tag.

Bennett bemoans Maroons travel

During the COVID-19 affected NRL campaign, clubs often flew interstate on the day of matches before flying home the same day.

The Maroons will follow a similar pattern for Wednesday's Origin opener in Adelaide.

They will fly to South Australia from their Gold Coast base on Wednesday morning, spend the day in a hotel before heading to the venue for the 8.10pm AEDT kick-off.

Another chartered flight will then take the Maroons back to Queensland in the hours after the match.

"You'd prefer not to do that, particularly for an Origin game," Bennett said.

"I mean, these games are so big and you just want everything right but NSW have to do it as well.”

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