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Why Gal’s drought breakers are best ever Blues

Paul Gallen and Laurie Daley celebrate with the State of Origin shield in 2014. Picture: Gregg Porteous

Phil \"Buzz\" Rothfield

THE Daily Telegraph’s Sports Editor-at-large Phil Rothfield believes Gal’s Drought Breakers are NSW’s greatest ever Origin team.

Buzz rates the 2014 Blues team led by Paul Gallen better than Turvey’s Trailblazers (1985-86), Laurie’s Legends (1992-94) and Joey and Bedsy’s Heroes (2003-05).

Is Buzz Rothfield right? Have your say.

BUZZ’S BEST BLUES TEAM

On paper the 2014 Queensland State of Origin team was worth at least $3 million more than Laurie Daley’s NSW Blues.

Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Justin Hodges, Matt Scott, Darius Boyd and Daly Cherry-Evans all in their prime.

They’d won the previous eight State of Origin campaigns and were long odds on to make it nine.

Somehow NSW did the impossible. It wasn’t pretty but it sure was effective.

Led magnificently in the forwards by Paul Gallen and beautifully prepared by Daley, NSW produced their most courageous Origin campaign to score the biggest series upset since Fatty Vautin’s no-names won the trophy during the Super league war.

Paul Gallen celebrates after clinching the 2014 State of Origin series. Picture: Gregg Porteous

Paul Gallen celebrates after clinching the 2014 State of Origin series. Picture: Gregg PorteousSource:News Corp Australia

Queensland had by far the better football team.

Daley knew that and devised a set of tactics to shut down their matchwinners and grind their way to victory. All 17 players in all three games gave 110 per cent.

In Game Two, in what ended up being the decider, the Maroons led 4-0 at half-time thanks to two Thurston penalty goals. Everyone expected them to open up in the fin al 40 minutes. But they couldn’t.

With only seven minutes to go, halfback Trent Hodkinson scored the only try of the match and converted. It was the first time the Maroons has been kept try-less since 1999.

It was phenomenal Blues defence against so many matchwinners.

Have your say on which is the greatest NSW Origin side at bestinblue.com.au

All voters have the chance to win State of Origin tickets and a special State of Origin Experience at Game 1, ANZ Stadium.

BEST BLUES: THE FINAL FOUR

Turvey’s Trailblazers

1985-86 era, led by Steve Mortimer

Under the coaching of Terry Fearnley and captaincy of Steve ‘Turvey’ Mortimer, the Blues of 1985 ended Queensland’s five-year domination of Origin to claim their first series win. The following year, coach Ron Willey guided New South Wales to the first series clean-sweep in State of Origin history. The Blues were dominant across 1985-86, winning five of the six games played. In both years, they claimed the series after winning the first two games.

Steve Mortimer is chaired off after the 1985 State of Origin triumph.

Steve Mortimer is chaired off after the 1985 State of Origin triumph.Source:News Limited

Laurie’s Legends

1992-94 era, led by Laurie Daley

Under the coaching of two-time premiership-winning coach Phil Gould, the Blues won three consecutive series in 1992, 1993 and 1994. They were the first NSW side to achieve the feat at Origin level. Canberra’s 22-year-old five-eighth Laurie Daley was their captain; he remains the only Blues player to lead the state to three successive series wins. The Blues claimed 2-1 victories in all three series and came from a 1-0 deficit in 1994 to win after victories in Melbourne and Brisbane. A number of players emerged during this period and went on to glittering careers with the Blues including Paul Harragon, Tim Brasher, Paul McGregor, Dean Pay and Brett Mullins.

Laurie Daley scores a try for NSW in 1993.

Laurie Daley scores a try for NSW in 1993.Source:News Limited

Joey and Bedsy’s Heroes

2003-05 era, led by Andrew Johns and Danny Buderus

For only the second time in the Blues’ Origin history, they won three consecutive series. The masterful Phil Gould, who had returned as coach in 2002, guided the team to back-to-back successes in 2003-04 before handing over to Ricky Stuart for the 2005 series. The Blues won the 2003 series inside two games before claiming victory in the 2004 decider. In the 2005 series, they came from 1-0 down to overcome an emerging Queensland outfit that included Billy Slater, Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith. Future Immortal Andrew Johns played a leading role in the 2003 and 2005 victories while Brad Fittler emerged from representative retirement to spearhead the Blues’ 2004 triumph. Johns captained the Blues in 2003 before hooker Danny Buderus took over in the 2004-05 series.

Andrew Johns and the Blues celebrate the 2003 State of Origin triumph.

Andrew Johns and the Blues celebrate the 2003 State of Origin triumph.Source:News Corp Australia

Gal’s Drought Breakers

2014 team, led by Paul Gallen

The Blues ended eight years of Queensland dominance with victories in the first two games of the series. The Maroons continued to field the nucleus of the team that had forged unprecedented success under the coaching of Mal Meninga since 2006. Led by skipper Paul Gallen, NSW won with an uncompromising defensive effort that restricted the Maroons to two tries in Game One and none in Game Two.

Paul Gallen and Laurie Daley celebrate with the State of Origin shield in 2014. Picture: Gregg Porteous

Paul Gallen and Laurie Daley celebrate with the State of Origin shield in 2014. Picture: Gregg PorteousSource:News Corp Australia

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