League: Blues ready to break their drought, says Origin great

By Steve Gee

Mal Meninga. Photo / Getty Images
Mal Meninga. Photo / Getty Images

NSW great Steve Mortimer says the Blues are ready to emulate the deeds of his all-conquering 1985 side and end another era of Queensland State of Origin dominance.

Mortimer famously led NSW to their first Origin series win over the Maroons and, after seven years of failures, he can sense Laurie Daley's side is ready to wrest back the Origin shield from north of the border.

And the Blues legend believes the key to a breakthrough win will be the brotherhood that had slowly built over the past two series under Ricky Stuart.

Mortimer said the fact that most of the Blues were involved in the past two campaigns was a bonus.

He said while Queensland long had an advantage with a settled squad, the familiarity of the NSW players would bear fruit.

"No one has ever talked about this, but the real key for NSW is all the players know each other and are starting to care and like each other and help each other," said Mortimer. "That was brought in when Ricky Stuart took over so that really 90 per cent of the team know each other."

Mortimer said the strength of familiarity could not be undervalued and was a clear reason for Queensland's winning run under Mal Meninga.

Mortimer can see clear parallels between Paul Gallen's men, who have fallen agonisingly close to the Maroons in the past two series, and his own side. "Absolutely - it was a similar position," he said.

"I was captain in the last game in 1984 and we had a bunch of Neville Nobodies and we won 22-12 and I put that down to my experience in getting to know each other, to like each other, to respect each other, to trust each other. That was a great stepping stone for coming into 1985."

- AAP

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