NOW we will see the absolute best in Mal Meninga.
Mal is the coach of Queensland for exactly this situation.
He has the experience in difficult times to pull through, no matter what the circumstances.
Mal has played with injuries, he has captained teams under duress and he knows what it takes to get the job done no matter what.
Is Queensland in crisis? Please, it’s a game of footy.
Are we under the pump and under more pressure than we have been in the past eight years? You would have to say yes.
What is important is sticking to the same routine, to not retreat into your shell or hide away because the team is under the pump.
That is why it was great to see the Queensland players travel to Longreach yesterday, with Cameron Smith even out and about riding a bull.
Despite the pressure on the Maroons they still did the little things that are important, reaching out to fans and promoting the game in the country areas.
It was a relaxing way for the players to start what will be an important week of camp.
If I was going to back anyone to get us out of this tough situation it would be Mal and these Queensland players who have never let us down.
What we are going to see this week is just how important and how successful the Emerging Origin squad program has been for Queensland.
Injuries are the same at club level as they are during the interstate series. They make you aware of how much depth you do or don’t have.
Of course I am worried about the blokes who are in doubt.
I also know that the Queenslanders who take the field next week will do the job. It is as simple as that.
The obvious question going through Mal’s head is how many sessions does he need from his injured players for them to play next week.
I would give Billy Slater and Greg Inglis until the day of the game.
They are both incredibly experienced players, they have done the job many times before and were both in great form before their injuries.
Giving them time is why Mal named an extended squad.
He can let Anthony Milford, Will Chambers or Willie Tonga train in their positions this week and get them ready for the job just in case he needs them. Billy can run, it is his shoulder that is hurt. So for the most part he can do the sessions without the contact.
His shoulder can be tested with contact as late as possible next week.
Daly Cherry-Evans needs to train. He plays such an important part in the team and we saw how much he improved once he got his head around the job in the first game.
Daly is a different player to Cooper Cronk, so it is important the other players get used to him calling the shots.
The good thing for Queensland is that most of the team played with Daly at halfback a few times at the World Cup last year, so they know his game already.
There is no doubt this is the most difficult preparation Queensland has had to contend with for some time.
NSW also have their own challenges, with some changes and new faces to settle into the team.
Next week we will see which state handles a difficult situation the best.
Origin is so loved in this country because the game never lets us down.
Next week we will have another piece of folklore to talk about.
If NSW win, they will finally break the streak and take out the series for the first time in nine years and it would all be built upon their brave and courageous win in Brisbane.
If Queensland win, we can talk about how incredible the achievement was.
Everybody says Queensland are in crisis, the injuries are too much to overcome and the Blues will wrap up the series.
That is exactly the situation that brings out the best in Queenslanders.
I said after game one that if we had won that game it would’ve been Queensland’s best Origin win in 10 years.
That is how tough that game was.
Imagine how we will rank this next game if Mal and his Maroons can get the win and keep the series alive coming back home to Brisbane for the decider.