Blues dare Maroons to target Jarryd Hayne in Origin return

But Queensland players say Napa is itching for a crack at the Blues and former Maroons lock Moore challenged the 198cm hulk to go for the jugular by taking down Fifita.

"There'll be different pressures on him from clubland but we believe he's capable of handling those pressures".

"There's been a changing of the guard a little bit for this first game and none of us know how long we have got".

"I think his Origin rep career, from this series on is where we'll really judge him".

I think it's a case of looking at who's not there for the Maroons rather than who is and there is an obvious chink of light for the Blues. "He's a big game player". But this is the next step up.

"There is a lot of pressure. they are massive shoes and you can never replace a guy like Johnno, even for one game".

There's no overstating just how dramatic Thurston's absence could be for Queensland as 22-year-old debutant Anthony Milford prepares to take his place at five-eighth.

"They'll do it again, they'll come up with something that tries to gel them all together and bring them all together".

Queensland have won six of the last eight first games in the Origin series and their record at Suncorp Stadium is unbelievable - the only game New South Wales won there in their last 11 visits was a dead rubber.

But he has warned his team not to discount a wounded Maroons outfit.

"He went overseas and played a different game and came back", Smith said of the code hopper.

Daley refused to embrace his side's favouritism, saying Queensland thrived when their backs were against the wall.

Coach Laurie Daley leads players out for the New South Wales Blues captains run at Robina Stadium on the Gold Coast, Tuesday, May 30, 2017.

"So they will be as prepared as ever, they'll be as tough as ever, and our guys need to understand that because this is the time that they (Queensland) like - when people are starting to doubt them. I was more the kid that crossed every toe and finger and hair follicle they had and hoped it was possible, not knew it was", Cronk said.

Maroons coach Kevin Walters was asked about the Blues' tactic to save energy on the eve of the clash and admitted he wouldn't be following suit.

Despite Karl's obnoxious claims of there being "three drunks", Daley says past year there were as many as 800.

"But they always try and find a way to rally the troops and have that us against them mentality". I thought I did that so this year will be the same kind of thing.

"You just want them to referee the same they do in the NRL, that's all we've asked".

Darius Boyd plays his 27th successive game and he's the form full-back in the NRL and has been over the past two years. "They've coped with everything they've done, I can't fault them, it's all now just getting their head in the right space and if we do that, we play well".

  • Leroy Wright