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Attitude a major concern: Maroons

Not much fazes Mal Meninga, but the all-conquering Queensland coach admits he is concerned about his team's attitude ahead of next week's must-win State of Origin clash in Brisbane.
Attitude a major concern: Maroons
by AAP

By Laine Clark

BRISBANE, June 19 AAP - Not much fazes Mal Meninga, but the all-conquering Queensland coach admits he is concerned about his team's attitude ahead of next week's must-win State of Origin clash in Brisbane.

However, Cameron Smith reckons he is not losing sleep over the thought of being the first Queensland captain to lose an Origin series since 2005.

Meninga may have masterminded an unprecedented seven straight Origin titles but admitted he was scratching his head over how to fire up his troops ahead of their crunch game two showdown at Suncorp Stadium on June 26.

The Maroons are traditionally slow starters in Origin but Meninga saw something in their 14-6 game one loss in Sydney that alarmed him.

"It's an attitude thing and I can't solve it," he said.

"It's about individuals and the group wanting it more, that desire to kick off the game in a better fashion than we have for a long time, to be honest."

Team bonding has never been an issue for the tight Queensland outfit - the "us and them" mentality built at Meninga's Camp Maroon innovation on the Sunshine Coast ensured that.

But the Queensland mentor admitted he would be looking closer at the players' preparation as the team officially moved into their Coolum camp on Wednesday afternoon.

"We are here to mend all that (attitude concerns)," he said.

"We will spend the week making sure our attitude is a lot better, particularly at the start.

"Because we need to play better. We can't get away from the fact that we didn't execute the best that we possibly could (in game one)."

Queensland chairman of selectors Des Morris admitted the champion Maroons could no longer afford to give away starts like the 14-0 game one jump NSW received.

"That's the main issue. It's a concern," he told AAP.

"Subconsciously they have a lot of belief in themselves and that may lead to a bit of complacency.

"We need to have a hard look at it."

Smith celebrated taking over the Queensland reins last year by becoming the first man to lead his club, state and country to success in a season since his Maroons predecessor Darren Lockyer in 2006.

But if Smith was nervous about being at the helm when the Maroons juggernaut finally sunk, he hid it well.

"I remember last year when I took over the captaincy I was asked how would I feel being the first captain to lose so I have dealt with that early," said Smith.

"I understand the pressure on the whole team.

"For me, it's not about being the captain who lost the series.

"I want the side to do well because we didn't in game one."


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