Scott Powick APN

Qld tipped to defeat Blues

QUEENSLAND will go into tonight's second State of Origin match as red hot favourites after a week of sensational off-field controversies dominated the lead-up to the game.

New South Wales was thrown into disarray on Friday night when dual international Timana Tahu took exception to comments made by legendary Newcastle No.7 Andrew Johns and stormed out of team camp at Kingscliff in northern New South Wales.

Queensland have had their own share of disruptions with powerhouse prop Petro Civinoceva ruled out with an arm injury, and star winger Israel Folau announcing he'll switch codes to AFL next year, sparking vigorous debate over his right to wear a Maroon jersey.

For the Blues, tonight's match holds extra importance, with a fifth straight series loss a very real prospect.

Maroons hooker Cameron Smith says despite the drama in the Blues camp, Queensland won't be taking any chances.

“I think a team coached by Craig Bellamy will use all the disruption to bring them together and say it’s an ‘us versus the rest of the world’ sort of thing,” he said.

“We’re expecting on Wednesday night a side that’s going to be playing a lot better than they did in Sydney.

“Because if they don’t come out and play well it’s five series in a row,” he said.

An estimated 50,000 strong crowd is expected at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, with a customary hostile reception for the interstate visitors all but assured.


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