Stats show Queensland have defence concern

Scott Bailey
Tyson Frizell says his role won't take on any extra emphasis given the defensive spotlight on NSW

Statistics from the opening three months of the NRL reveal Queensland's back five have more defensive concerns than NSW ahead of next Wednesday's State of Origin opener.

Much of the attention over the opening week of camp has focused on the Blues' defence, most notably in the ability of centres James Roberts and Latrell Mitchell to contain Greg Inglis and Will Chambers.

However figures courtesy of Fox Sports Stats reveal the biggest questions concern the Maroons.

Across the first 12 rounds of the season, the Maroons' back five have missed 107 tackles to the Blues' 60, with Inglis the only player to have a better defensive record than his opposing man.

It's on that edge where back-rower Tyson Frizell will stand guard alongside debutants Nathan Cleary, Roberts and Tom Trbojevic but he insisted on Friday morning his role wouldn't take on any extra emphasis given the defensive spotlight.

"I think it is a bit over-hyped," Frizell said.

"Just because their attack is so potent, they do a good job.

"But as back-rower you're always trying to do you best to look after your edge. I'll be doing that on Wednesday, I'll be trying to look after my half and also the people outside me."

With so much focus around the speed and pace of the Blues' backline and the traditional potency of the Maroons' out wide, defensive match ups will be more important than ever in Melbourne.

Statistically, the Blues have a significant advantage on their left edge, where Latrell Mitchell and Josh Addo-Carr have missed 41 fewer tackles than their opposition Will Chambers and Dane Gagai this year.

But the one advantage the Maroons do have is experience and Origin combinations.

Defence was again a big focus at Blues training on Friday morning in the wet at Coogee before they gathered for a family lunch. They will use Saturday as a rest day before flying to Melbourne on Sunday.

"Defence is probably the main thing you've got to worry about in Origin," Frizell said.

"Not many points are leaked and any scoring opportunity is quite vital in those games. Our focus will be on that today and hopefully we can do it quite well."