The Role Hunger Played in the 2018 Series Victory
State of Origin has long been built on a foundation of hard work, commitment, determination and desire. All too often, we hear of the importance of 'hunger' and the role it plays in the small effort areas that often go unnoticed in Origin football.
For the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues, success has been hard to come by in recent years – but there is little doubt that the achievements of Brad Fittler's men in 2018 is now firmly embedded in Rugby League folklore.
With the series wrapped up in Game Two, some may fear that complacency may creep into the NSW side.
But rest assured that all 17 players who will run onto Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday night still possess a desire that burns deep within.
And they're hungry for more.
While NSW have regained their dominance in a historic 2018 Holden State of Origin Series, assistant coach Danny Buderus has urged the players to have the same ruthless approach in Game Three that has been an admirable quality of the Maroons in previous years.
"You hear people say you need a reason to play for different things but that's 10% of it...there's so much extra motivation," Buderus told NSWRL.com.au. "You just go back and look at the last 10 years, it's just Queensland.
"They'll try and build for next year - that's what I always really respect about Queensland. No matter what the score is, what time of the game they're playing, that's just bred into their DNA.
"They've always got that mentality that no matter what the clock says or what the scoreboard says, they're just going to keep playing. It will be no different to them on Wednesday night and we've got to have that same DNA for us, for the next period."
In Game One of the series, NSW looked to dominate proceedings when they raced out to an 8-0 lead courtesy of a James Tedesco try, but despite a strong opening half Queensland hit back with a four-pointer to Dane Gagai early in the second stanza.
The try, however, wouldn't have occurred without a pin-point kick from halfback Ben Hunt.
Hunt went onto to kick for 425 metres and produced a 40/20 late in the second half that almost ignited a Maroons comeback.
Fast track to Game Two, and Hunt's kicking game was far less influential; the Queensland No.7 came up with just 175 kick metres the second time around. It followed a greater emphasis on kick pressure in the NSW camp leading up to the second fixture, which ultimately played a crucial role in the state's historic victory.
While kick pressure is an effort area which many spectators might not notice, it's one which the coaching staff is all too aware of.
"That was an area in Game One that they were a lot better than us, the kick pressure - and we can still be a lot better at that as well," Buderus said. "Once that fatigue sets in, it's hard and they're the extra efforts you've really got to try and focus on in the players.
"[We needed] just to jog their mind, but you've got to move on from that now and hopefully that's in the kit bag.
"Now we move onto the next thing that we probably have to be a bit better at. There's always something you can improve."