Live: New-look Blues and Maroons kick off 2024 men’s State of Origin series in Sydney

This is just Billy Slater‘s seventh game as a head coach, but after two series wins, both remarkable in their own ways, the legendary fullback already has that trademark aura of mysticism that tends to accompany successful Queensland Origin coaches.

NSW coach Michael Maguire, meanwhile, is coming in with a love of workrate and toughness that should suit the arena, but we really don’t know what we’re going to get from the former Rabbitohs and Tigers mentor (only that his team looks very different to those from years’ past).

The Blues win Origin when their talent overwhelms Queensland’s magic. To that end it’s easy to see some of the reason behind Maguire’s team, which is created in the image of modern rugby league.

The problem is a technical approach has rarely been enough against Queensland in modern times because it’s hard to think your way out of an emotional problem.

The whole Maroon ethos, which has been cultivated so well by Billy Slater, is about becoming more than you ever thought you could be, believing I can because we are.

That’s what turns players into folk heroes and it’s why, somehow, the more depleted and downtrodden the team they stronger and more dangerous they become.

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