League: Queenslanders ready to do it for Locky

Darren Lockyer. Photo / Getty Images
Darren Lockyer. Photo / Getty Images

A sell-out crowd of more than 52,000 will be on hand when this year's State of Origin series gets underway at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.

NSW can expect the traditionally hostile welcome from the partisan crowd, which will be primed to welcome Queensland hero Darren Lockyer, as he equals Allan Langer's record of 34 Origin games in his 13th and final series.

Follow nzherald.co.nz's live updates from 9.45pm

The Maroons are heavily favoured to build on their five straight series losses but coach Mal Meninga says the Blues aren't quite the underdogs they're claiming to be.

"They're going to say that but they'll be well prepared, we know that," he said.

"It's going to be a really competitive, aggressive and unrelenting type of game.

"It's going to be a battle of wills really.

"I think we've prepared that way that if we do get into the battle we'll keep on persevering."

NSW are desperately hoping the new era of full-time coach Ricky Stuart can end five years of pain, starting with a 1-0 series lead after Origin I.

Stuart has left no stone unturned in planning the campaign and will have the team he wanted at his disposal after an overhaul of the Blues' selection procedure.

NSW skipper Paul Gallen backed the rebuilt Blues set-up to have his side ready.

"We probably couldn't have been any better prepared," he said.

"It's no secret Ricky's a passionate bloke and it's rubbed off on us and he's going to have us well and truly motivated."

The Blues go in with five debutants, while Willie Tonga and Dane Nielson replace injured Test centres Greg Inglis and Justin Hodges for the Maroons.

Teams:
Queensland: Billy Slater; Darius Boyd, Dane Nielsen, Willie Tonga, Jharal Yow Yeh; Darren Lockyer (capt), Johnathan Thurston; Matt Scott, Cameron Smith, Petero Civoniceva; Sam Thaiday, Ashley Harrison; Nate Myles. Interchange: Cooper Cronk, Corey Parker, Jacob Lillyman, Ben Hannant.

NSW: Josh Dugan; Brett Morris, Michael Jennings, Mark Gasnier, Akuila Uate; Jamie Soward, Mitchell Pearce; Jason King, Michael Ennis, Kade Snowden; Beau Scott, Greg Bird; Paul Gallen (capt). Interchange: Ben Creagh, Trent Merrin, Tim Mannah, Dean Young.

Statistics:
Head-to-head: played 90, Queensland 47, NSW 41, drawn 2. (1980-2010)
Series results: played 29, Queensland 15, NSW 12, drawn 2
Last five series: 2006 - Qld 2-1, 2007 - Qld 2-1, 2008 - Qld 2-1, 2009 - Qld 2-1, 2010 - Qld 3-0.
At Suncorp Stadium: Played 44, Queensland 26, NSW 17, drawn 1
Biggest wins: NSW - 56-16, Stadium Australia, 2000. Queensland - 36-6, Lang Park, 1989; 36-6, Suncorp Stadium, 2003; 30-0, Suncorp Stadium, 2008
Most appearances: Qld - Allan Langer (34), NSW - Brad Fittler (31)
Most points: Qld - Mal Meninga (161); NSW - Michael O'Connor (129)
Most tries: Qld - Dale Shearer (12), NSW - Michael O'Connor (11)

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 30 Aug 2014 06:08:50 Processing Time: 416ms