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Maroons must cut loose to avoid clean sweep, says Cherry-Evans

“But even if we don’t, we have to have the confidence to win it in the 80th minute.”

For all the talk about the new rules benefiting smaller players, it has been the big, fast backs like Trbojevic and Mitchell who have thrived. Queensland don’t have any like-for-like players at the moment, so must hope new faces like Kalyn Ponga and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow can add a point of difference on Wednesday.

‘We’ve created opportunities in both games … you probably look at the scoreline and think that’s not the case but we have.’

Paul Green

Maroons coach Paul Green has been at the centre of a firestorm of criticism about his methods, with Phil Gould among those who believe he has coached his last game for Queensland no matter what transpires at Cbus Super Stadium.

Green wouldn’t be drawn into anything beyond Wednesday night, saying only a strong showing against the Blues would convince doubters of his worth.

“It won’t matter what I say now. Tomorrow night will be the test,” Green said.

“We need to take our opportunities. We’ve created opportunities in both games … you probably look at the scoreline and think that’s not the case but we definitively have.

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“You don’t get too many in Origin so when you get them you have to turn them into points. We need to get after the game a little bit more.”

The Origin cliche suggests there is no such thing as a dead rubber. Cherry-Evans agrees, promising a vastly improved performance for Queensland fans, who have had precious little to cheer about in 2021.

“A win would be massive for us. Every Origin game you get to play is a massive occasion, we want to go out there and show how much it means to the players and fans,” he said.

“As much as people want to talk about turmoil within, one thing I can always speak about is the loyalty of Queensland fans. We’ve had a rough series but not for one second have I not felt the state has been behind us. We need to reward that with a good game.”

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