In 2017, the NSW VB Blues will win the Holden State of Origin series three games to nil. That is, according to former Origin captain Benny Elias.
Never one to shy away from an honest opinion, Elias has valid reason to predict a NSW whitewash this year, despite a lack of sustained success throughout the past decade. Coach Laurie Daley has been relentless in his efforts to usher in a new era in the sky blue jersey, which Elias believes will come to fruition in 2017.
“I know that Laurie Daley’s done a job which is second to none – he hasn’t left any stone unturned,” Elias tells NSWRL.com.au. “He prepared the first day after Game Three last year, so Laurie’s been terrific with regards to all the qualities that’s provided.
“Ninety-nine per cent of success is preparation, so I think we’ll knock them out three-nil. We’ve got a new captain coming along our way, that’s the start of the beginning.”
The Maroons, who have enjoyed unprecedented success thanks to some of history’s best individual talent in key positions, believe they have a right to the shield, Elias explains.
“They think that they can just go out there and go through the motions and win,” Elias adds. “They’re arrogant, they’re cocky, they think they’ve got this just right to win this State of Origin year in, year out.
“Well the right’s going to stop this time – and watch out (Queensland), we’re coming to get you three times to zero.
“We are the number one and the premier state of Rugby League and I think this year we’re going to turn things upside down.”
The last time NSW did lift the shield was of course in 2014 – and it was also the last time Suncorp Stadium hosted two fiery clashes. The VB Blues will be faced with the same scenario this year, but Elias believes it could work in the team’s favour.
“I wouldn’t mind playing three games up there and beating them in the three games because there’s no better place to do it than in their own backyard,” Elias says. “We’re going to do a number on them – they can boo all they want up there against us.
“(In) Game One up there we’re going to give them the first, biggest uppercut they’ll ever receive.”
It kicks off a fiery start to the state’s 2017 Origin campaign, with Elias one of eight former captains assembling at ANZ Stadium for the Captain’s Table luncheon. While mystery surrounds the team which will be announced next Monday night, the 19-time NSW representative and six-time skipper is certain that whoever is selected can do the job.
“They (the Maroons) are going to get a real shock surprise when they see New South Wales’ passion which will be greater, stronger and better than their mob up there,” Elias concludes.
“This is one thing that I’m sure about. I just think that they’ve done everything right to win this one three-nil.”