How NSW Can Embrace The Suncorp Atmosphere
When the full-time siren sounded at ANZ Stadium, the scenes of jubilation were something made of fairy tales.
It was a history-defining moment – a series victory that will be remembered for the ages and the dawn of a new era for NSW.
Now just over two weeks later, with the series all but over and the shield heading back to New South Wales, Brad Fittler's men head into enemy territory to claim another slice of history.
A 3-0 clean sweep is now in arms' reach, but such is the rarity of the feat that It hasn't been achieved since 2000 – and if they needed any other challenge within another, they will attempt to do so at the cauldron of Suncorp Stadium.
"The atmosphere will be different, how different it will be given we're two-nil up [I'm not sure]. It'll be unique in one way or the other," Fittler said.
But Fittler has assured the challenge is not what it seems – and described the chance to run out into the high-octane crowd of Queensland faithful tomorrow night as an experience that should be embraced.
"There's nothing hard about it - it's such a wonderful ground," he said.
"All these blokes have played there [and] every time they play Brisbane (Broncos), there's at least 30 or 40 thousand people there.
"It's just a wonderful ground and a wonderful stadium."
It's a rare opportunity for NSW to well and truly stamp their authority in the 2018 series, with James Maloney recently speaking of the influence a 3-0 series win will have on the Maroons next year.
While Fittler has himself suggested that playing at Suncorp should make the task no more difficult, he says the real challenge that lies ahead is when they play against a side who don't have the series on the line, but plenty of pride.
"Only two teams in the last 21 years have done it, so it's a fair carrot there...only great teams get to do it. This team gets an opportunity," he said.
"They don't come easy - throughout that whole reign of Queensland they did it once.
"It just says it's not easy to do, for whatever reason. There's obviously some big challenges there, mentally and physically.
With significantly less pressure following their emphatic 18-14 victory in Game Two, it still remains difficult to ignore the external focus surrounding tomorrow night's fixture.
But Fittler admits the focus has solely been among the 17-players in the side, which has been emphasised since day one of camp which has helped establish a more relaxing environment.
"We got to put it on our side and create more certainty amongst our players – that will be the real key," Fittler added.
"From the start we haven't worried [too] much about Queensland. It will be more about trying to create more certainty amongst us than anything."
And while some may fear complacency may creep into the NSW camp, Fittler has assured that is far from the case, with a strong sense of familiarity among the playing group helping their cause.
"We've worked hard this week; the effort hasn't been different to any of the other games," he said.
"The effort has been the same if not better, just because they know each other, and they know how to push each other."