NSW True Blue Brett Kimmorley believes the VB Blues will be better equipped to handle the Queenslanders in the 2017 Origin series following the Four Nations, currently being played in England.
Both NSW and Queensland boasted 12 representatives in the Kangaroos’ 24-man squad when it was announced prior to the tournament but, with many of the young bloods hailing from south of the border, Kimmorley believes it bodes well for the future of the NSW VB Blues.
“It’s a nice sign for a changing of the guard – but these guys have probably been ready for a fair while, too,” Kimmorley tells NSWRL.com.au. “You’ve got to be consistent for a fair period of time to get into the side, because we’ve got some great footy players in Australia.”
Kimmorley, the 159th player to play Origin for NSW, acknowledges many of the most experienced players in the Australian side are Queenslanders, but their knowledge will be vital for the young Blues.
“I think you’re better for the experience,” Kimmorley says. “You hang around guys like Smith, Cronk and Thurston and just see what they do – you get to see how they train and how they prepare.
“I think it’s always educational being with the great players.”
Aaron Woods, who many have suggested is in line for the NSW captaincy next year, and forever-improving five-eighth James Maloney, are two more established players who will also take their Four Nations experience back to VB Blues.
“I was reading a story from Aaron Woods saying how great it’s been to be around Cameron (Smith) for a period of time, to just see how controlled he is during a game and to see what a captain needs to do,” Kimmorley says. “Maloney has had to wait his turn because of how strong the Queensland side has been for a number of years.
“To be a (Kangaroos) half – there’s been guys like Thurston, Lockyer, Cronk and they don’t miss too many games.”
This year’s third Origin proved what the young, exciting group of Blues blood can achieve and while the Maroons’ leaders have been on top of their game for some period, Kimmorley explains time is on the side of the New South Welshmen.
“I thought Game III gave us some great excitement for what Game I could look like next year,” Kimmorley said. “I’m wary to say that Queensland are getting older, but it’s certainly a fact and it helps us a little bit as NSW fans.
“There’s a great young crop of kids coming through for NSW that jump on the back of what we did in Game III last year.”