Justin Hodges: Maroons need to stick to game plan
THE Maroons must embrace running into enemy territory at ANZ Stadium tonight.
For me, I loved it, playing in front of all those Blues supporters, the crowd giving it to you.
Like the NSW boys coming up here, winning that first game in Brisbane, sticking it up all of us Queenslanders at our home.
It's time we returned the favour and did it to them.
The boys have to be aggressive. Especially in the kick-chase it's important our players get there as fast as they can.
And whoever picks up the ball for them, make sure they belt them, and take them back.
Will Chambers, Darius Boyd and Dane Gagai have to make sure NSW feel their presence.
The boys just need to work hard and put themselves in a good position and make sure they can win the game.
It's always hard to win down there in Sydney, but they've got the side to go and do it and a great coach in Kevvie Walters.
They've got to stick to what works. There is a game plan there. It hasn't changed since '06.
There's a culture too. Of winning.
No matter how things are going, stick to that plan and nine times out of 10 you're going to win games.
Trust the system.
If the game is on the line, you want to be on Queensland's side because we've some great big-game players who have obviously been in that position before, players who can close it out.
Johnathan Thurston is one of the best players of all time.
When you lose a player like that it can lower your confidence a bit.
He sent a scare through the Queensland camp during an opposed session on the weekend but that's what happens when you have bony little legs.
But JT's that guy you always look to when the game is on the line.
Then there's Billy Slater. You don't know what he's going to do. He can pop up anywhere and create gaps out of nothing.
It's sad my old Broncos teammate Sammy Thaiday is not there. I thought he should have been.
I wanted to see him play aggressive, see him coming off the bench and making a difference.
That was the Sam Thaiday I loved playing with.
His enthusiasm, his passion, his aggression, his pressure, it really inspired you.
Hopefully he can work himself back into the side.
But there is a changing of the guard and it's exciting seeing young players making their debut.
Jarrod Wallace has done a remarkable job since leaving the Broncos and going down to the Titans, playing some big minutes and playing some great football.
We've got some great older heads in there who will make sure they all live up to the Queensland expectations.
I've got no doubt they will do Queensland proud.