’Achilles heel’ in hyped backline
QUEENSLAND believe NSW’s backline speed merchants could crack under the defensive pressure of Origin as Maroons stars warned Greg Inglis would torment Blues rookie James Roberts.
Inglis will return to the interstate arena in Origin I on Wednesday night after a 12month, injury-enforced absence and Queensland’s new skipper is primed to subject Roberts to an MCG nightmare.
The Blues are confident their backline can torch the Maroons with Josh Addo-Carr, Latrell Mitchell, Tom Trbojevic and Roberts comprising the fastest three-quarter line in NSW’s Origin history.
But statistics underline the NSW speed machines’ defensive frailties, with the quartet having collectively missed 53 tackles in the NRL this season.
Roberts’ defensive flaws were exposed by Mitchell in the Broncos-Roosters clash a fortnight ago and Queensland are backing Inglis – the greatest tryscorer in Origin history – to monster The Jet.
Queensland winger Valentine Holmes admits the Maroons are tired of hearing about a Blues backline that collectively can’t match the incredible Origin record of 30game giant Inglis.
“Look at their backline and look at ours – we have GI (Inglis) and Will Chambers, who have played in multiple big occasions,” said Holmes, the hattrick hero in the Suncorp decider last year.
“Everyone is saying how good their back five is (including fullback James Tedesco), but we have GI as captain and we all look up to him.
“Everyone saw the clash with Roberts and Latrell Mitchell a few weeks ago and GI is the same (as the Roosters centre) – he is big and lanky.
“GI will try and palm him (Roberts) off and step outside him so I have to be ready for his flick pass. GI will try and take on James a lot more, he is excited and pumped for the challenge.”
Queensland selection boss Gene Miles says NSW’s backline speed can also be their achilles heel.
“Speed is great, but the ball always has to get to them and State of Origin footy is a different game totally,” he said.
“Some people say after their first game they wish they got more involved.
“Hopefully that is the case with the NSW guys. Yes, they have plenty of speed, but if they don’t control the ball or they don’t get the ball, they will be ineffective.” edito[email protected]spost.com.au facebook.com/TheCairnsPost www.cairnspost.com.au twitter.com/TheCairnsPost
GI WILL TRY AND TAKE ON JAMES A LOT MORE, HE IS EXCITED AND PUMPED FOR THE CHALLENGE VALENTINE HOLMES