Former Blues tip close State Of Origin 2

STAR POWER Steve Mortimer signs some autographs for Beelbangera Public School student Dante Maccagnan and his father John on Wednesday. Picture: Les Smith
STAR POWER Steve Mortimer signs some autographs for Beelbangera Public School student Dante Maccagnan and his father John on Wednesday. Picture: Les Smith

Don’t expect another big NSW win in game two was the main message from former Blues players Steve Mortimer and Steve Menzies.

However both believe Blues captain Boyd Cordner will be lifting the shield this year.

The pair, who played a combined 29 State Of Origin games, are wary about the return of Johnathon Thurston and Billy Slater for game two at ANZ Stadium next week.

Mortimer was adamant Slater should have been selected for game one when NSW ran out 28-4 winners at Suncorp Stadium.

He would have liked to have seen Matt Moylan coming off the bench, to add that bit of spark needed to combat the brilliance of Thurston and Slater.

However he is still confident Cordner can follow in his footsteps and lead NSW to a series win.

“They’ve got Thurston coming in and Billy Slater, who they should have picked in the first game,” Mortimer said.

“I think we are going to go well but it would have been nice to have Matt Moylan on that bench as well.

“I know we have Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney, but Moylan playing five-eighth or half is an absolute danger to Queensland.”

However, Menzies thought NSW has done the right thing by rewarding who played so well last month.

He sees coming in unchanged as an advantage.

“They’ve got a really good mix and a really good blend," Menzies said.

“Luckily there has been no injuries and you wouldn't want to change any of the players, they all did amazing jobs.

“They all should be there for the second one so I think it is a good thing.”

He too expects it will be a lot harder with the Maroons desperate to keep the series alive.

“I think (Queensland) have a stronger side with Billy Slater in and Thurston in and they’ve made a few changes,” Menzies said.

“They are a great side and while we played well and won well in the first one it is a competely different game and it is going to be very hard.”

Both were in Wagga on Wednesday after part of the Mortimer Shield.

It was the first time Menzies had been the primary school competition and he was left impressed by the talent in the Riverina.

“It’s an amazing facility and it has been really good,” he said.

Mortimer was thrilled NSW Rugby League had come on board and bring Menzies down.

He proved a hit with the younger generation.

Mortimer was particularly impressed to see a Wodonga leaguetag show how the sport is growing.

“It was just wonderful and I hope it continues to grow as the population grows and give rugby league a good profile,” he said.