Origin I Man of the Match Andrew Fifita is obviously a target for the Marrons heading into Origin II, but Blues Captain Boyd Cordner has warned the Queenslanders that the tactic of focusing too much attention of Fifita is likely to have dire consequences.
That is just the sort of announcement you would expect, given the 28 – 4 drubbing the Blues laid on the Maroons on the Maroons’ home ground in Origin I, given that the Blues have home ground advantage for tomorrow nights’ second game in the State of Origin series.
In the first game, Fifita ran rampant over the Maroons, gaining 168 minutes, one try and one try assist.
“If they want to just focus on one player we have a lot of other strike across the field where we can hurt them,” Cordner said at his pre-game press conference.
Cordner might be wise to tone the rhetoric down a bit, as the Blues have won the Origin Shield only once across the past 12 years.
All the same, ignoring Fifita could be costly as well and his reputation as being a player who brings his best to the big matches has grown following his performance in the 2016 Telstra NRL Premiership competition grand final, where more than a few thought him the best player afield and worthy of the Churchill Medal for which he was overlooked in favour of Luke Lewis.
It may be necessary for Queensland to target Fifita, however, their tactic of putting a reserve player in a white shirt, and then taking that player to the ground by the whole team sounds a bit juvenile.
Fifita needed only 48 minutes on the field at Suncorp Stadium to wreak his havoc on the Maroons and if he plays anywhere near that level at ANZ Stadium, the Origin series will be a brief, two-game affair.