Mal Meninga: Maroons need to harness emotion

HISTORY-making coach Mal Meninga says Queensland will not over-play the emotion card despite a desire to honour legend Arthur Beetson in the 100th State of Origin clash at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday night.

Meninga (pictured) said the emotion for Queensland would be no different to the one it had in the first ever Origin match, that he was a player in, 34 years ago.

"Game one (1980) was obviously very important to the whole concept and, as a result of that game, this is where Origin is today," Meninga said.

"We all recognise our past. It's an emotional game and you have to get caught up in emotion, but you have to be able handle that emotion.

"It (emotion) can override you and sometimes get you thinking adversely. Emotion is great, but it's how you harness it and how that helps you prepare."

Meninga has built Queensland's eight-straight record around reinstilling what it means to pull on the Maroons jumper and represent a state that between 1959 and until the birth of Origin football in 1980 did not beat NSW teams which often contained some of their best players.

Prior to Origin, players were selected for interstate clashes on the basis of the clubs they played with.

It meant some of Queensland's best players turned out for the "enemy".

That all ended on July 8, 1980 when a crowd of 33,210 fans packed into Lang Park's cauldron as the great Beetson, past his best at 35, led Queensland to a stirring 20-10 victory which changed interstate football forever.

Topics:  editors picks footy tipping mal meninga maroons nrl state of origin

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