Queensland’s State of Origin team didn’t just send a message to their opponents with a bruising defensive set in Wednesday’s series opener, they inspired Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn.
The former All Black made 11 appearances for the Maroons during his rugby league career and was a keen watcher as Queensland came from behind to beat NSW 18-14 at Suncorp Stadium.
A set of six at the start of the second half where Queensland repeatedly smashed the Blues particularly resonated, and Thorn used it as an example for his players before their Super Rugby clash with Auckland’s Blues at the same venue on Friday.
Just like their rugby league counterparts, the Reds overcame a sluggish start to defeat the Blues 29-28 – their first win over a New Zealand-based team in 16 attempts.
“I talked to the lads yesterday at the captain’s run, just around the Origin game,” Thorn said.
“From what I saw there was a set of six there where they just decided to win.
“You improve and you get better and you do stuff but there’s that next bit where you decide to win games.
“I’m not saying we’re there yet but we fought it out, we found a way to get that result. That was important.”
Saturday’s win was just the sixth of the season for the Reds but gave the home fans the chance send veteran second-rower Scott Higginbotham out a winner in his final match at Suncorp Stadium for the franchise.
The game is also expected to be the last time captain Samu Kerevi plays on home soil for the Reds with a deal to join Japanese club Suntory after this year’s World Cup already believed to be signed.
For Thorn though, the most important thing was heeding the lesson of Wednesday’s Origin match and refusing to lose.
“We started off, we were flat, there was some easy tries we gave them,” he said.
“We like doing things the hard way.
“They got there in the end, they made it happen. There’s a difference between just losing and making it happen, getting the win.
“I like to think that we’ll get some belief out of that.”
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