With State of Origin Game Two only a matter of hours away, New South Wales have a chance to take the series with a win at ANZ Stadium.
In this week’s At The Bar, future Hillston Swans forward Michael ‘Speedy’ Stratton and Area News sports journalist Liam Warren look ahead to the clash and talk about Speedy’s trip to Hillston.
Liam: Big game tonight Speedy. What do you make of it?
Speedy: I still think NSW can do it, but it will be no easy task because Queensland are going to come out really firing this time, especially with Billy Slater and Johnathon Thurston back in the side.
Liam: What have you made of the build-up?
Speedy: Some of those news writers in a certain daily Sydney newspaper annoy me the way they go on. You would think they are trying to build up World War Three. It's only a game of bloody football. I have been meaning to ring Ray Hadley and have a go at him about it and see what he reckons.
Liam: A Queensland win tonight would make things taste for game three, given it is up in Brisbane.
Speedy: If the Maroons do win tonight, it won't make any difference about it being up there because NSW did it and did it comfortably in the first game, so I don't think it is all that much of an advantage these days.
Liam: Where do you think the game will be won?
Speedy: I think again it is going to come down to the battle of the forwards. Nturally in a game like this and with Fifita on fire and very, very keen to put in a repeat performance, I think NSW can wrap it up.
Liam: Latest news coming out of the Maroons camp is there might be some injury concerns.
Speedy: This injury to Thurston, I just think this could be a bit of a g-up. They have done this before and they are very good at it, Queensland. I wouldn't be surprised if he is back to his very, very best tonight and there is not a thing wrong with him but we wait and see.
Liam: A little birdy told me that you were out and about at the footy in Hillston.
Speedy: Went to see a game where Hillston in the Northern Riverina League played Ungarie and that is the first time I have ever seen a game of rules out there. While the standard is not as good as the Riverina League, it's not bad and I was pleasantly surprised by how it went.
Liam: How did it go?
Speedy: Ungarie were a little better in the air than Hillston. They managed to create the loose man a lot better than what Hillston did when they had possession and I thought they were in a little bit better condition than Hillston. People will say what's this bloke talking about – Hillston won the game. They won it because they were more tenacious.