17th November 2020, 10:58 | nrl
Words of inspiration from former Leeds hooker Danny Buderus has given James Tedesco added confidence that he can become just the third NSW captain to hold up the State of Origin Shield after winning a series decider at Suncorp Stadium.
The Blues go into Origin III as strong favourites to retain the shield for a third consecutive year after bouncing back from defeat in the series opener to thrash the Maroons 34-10 in Sydney last week but they will need to overcome history and a parochial 50,000 Queensland crowd.
In the 40 years since the State of Origin concept began, there have been 11 series deciders played in Brisbane and NSW have won just twice – in 1994 and 2005.
Buderus, who finished his three-year stint with Leeds by helping the Rhinos to grand final glory in 2011, was captain of the Blues team which beat Queensland 32-10 in the 2005 series decider at Suncorp Stadium and is now a member of the NSW coaching staff.
NSW assistant coach Craig Fitzgibbon, who played for Hull FC in 2010 and 2011, also played in the 2005 Origin team.
The former Kangaroos hooker addressed the team ahead of the match, which is set to be played before the biggest live sporting crowd in the world since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic after the Queensland Government increased capacity for outdoor stadiums to 100 per cent.
“I am not sure how much the players really know of the history and what Danny Buderus has done, but he is a legend,” NSW coach Brad Fittler said.
“It's all about making their own history,
Tedesco, who took over the captaincy from Sydney Roosters team-mate Boyd Cordner for Origin II, said he took confidence from speaking with Buderus about the role.
“Freddy [Fittler], Fitzy and Bedsy all spoke to us. You can’t get it any better than that,” Tedesco said.
“Bedsy said he was a bit nervous and a bit anxious as a captain but he knew the way the team had trained and the way they prepared that they were ready to win and that is how I feel too.
“You don’t really think about the history and achievements but it’s a big opportunity for us to be mentioned alongside those Origin teams.
“I’ve had a fair few achievements but to lead the boys out in a decider and get a win to hold up that shield, I don’t think there would be any better feeling.”
Fittler has retained the same line-up which triumphed at ANZ Stadium last week after resisting the temptation to include Melbourne Storm speedster Ryan Papenhuyzen on the bench after he overcame the calf injury that sidelined him from the opening two Origins.
However, Maroons coach Wayne Bennett has rung the changes by dropping Dragons utility Ben Hunt, Raiders prop Dunamis Lui and Titans pair Phillip Sami and Moeaki Fotuaika, while Broncos winger Xavier Coates has succumbed to an ankle injury.
NRL rookie of the year Harry Grant, who is considered the heir apparent to Cameron Smith in the Melbourne No.9 jersey, replaces Hunt on the bench, while South Sydney fullback Corey Allen and cousins Edrick and Brenko Lee will also make their Origin debuts.
Storm prop Christian Welch returns after sustaining a concussion in Origin I.
If the Maroons win, Bennett will have overseen Queensland series triumphs in four different decades – having previously done so in 1987, 1988, 1998 and 2001, while 2002 was a drawn series.
A Blues win would see Fittler join Phil Gould as the only NSW coaches to have led the state to three consecutive Origin series victories. Gould achieved the feat in 1992, 1993 and 1994.
A capacity crowd is expected for the match but with residents of the Greater Sydney area barred from Queensland due to COVID border restrictions, the Maroons will have a massive home ground advantage.
"It's good timing," Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans said. "We're super happy there's going to be so many people at Suncorp. It's a special place to play footy.
"You just know those extra couple of thousand people are going to make a massive difference. That place roars at full capacity.
"We need to give them something to cheer for and I know we can do it."