NSW Blues captain Boyd Cordner apologises for lack of spice in State of Origin build-up

Blues skipper Boyd Cordner has apologised to the state of NSW for failing to continue Paul Gallen's State of Origin legacy of a pre-game verbal attack against Queensland.

Gallen's retirement from representative football has taken some of the sting out of a usually heated build-up, but the former Blues captain hasn't managed to pass the baton to his successor.

A look at the most successful individuals and their less fortunate counterparts over the history of State of Origin.

Cordner insists he feels "guilty" for not riling the Maroons with a verbal tirade on the eve of the opening game of the series, adamant such an attack would be unnatural.

"To tell you the truth I don't really have anything to say," Cordner said.

"I'm sorry because I want the hype to be as it normally is and normally this is the time you do it, but I haven't really thought of anything like that. It's just who I am and the way I go about things. I am feeling guilty. Seriously. Normally it's good having the hype around because that's what Origin is about, so I apologise to you.

"I've got the utmost respect for Cameron Smith and the Queensland team. It hurts me to say it but they are a great team. For the last 10 years, to do what they've done it's pretty amazing. It hurts me to say that just because of the feeling between the two teams. When it comes to game time, there will be no hard feelings at all."

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga is largely to blame for the subdued build-up, repairing what has typically been a fractured relationship between NSW and Queenslanders in the Australian camp.

Aaron Woods even went to the extent of suggesting the NSW players would be up for having a few beers with the Maroons after the game.

However Cordner insists the Blues won't be making the mistake of showing Queensland too much respect.

"I think there's a fine line there," Cordner said.

"We definitely won't be getting that mixed up between showing too much respect and not enough."

There's a notable difference in the captaincy style of Cordner and his predecessor, but there's something Gallen has passed down that will live on through the new Blues skipper.

"The best bit of advice was something from Gal last year," Cordner said.

"He said just because you get given an Origin jersey, doesn't mean you're an Origin player. That hit home for me. I took that advice on board before my first game last year. Given an Origin jersey doesn't mean you're an Origin player – you have to take in those moments in the game, those big moments and making it your own. I've been trying to work on that a bit.

"The first day I was in camp, that's what I passed on. I didn't say it was from me. I said I got it from Gal. I just passed that on what I got from Gal because I thought it was really useful."

The other notable difference in the NSW camp is the return of Jarryd Hayne after a two-year hiatus.

His performances in helping NSW break the Origin drought in 2014 will go down in Origin folklore, and his return has been welcomed by his teammates.

"It's been awesome. Just his experience and his personality. It's so good to have him around," Cordner said.

"It's the first time I've really spent some time with him since he's gone overseas and come back. You can see he's a lot more grown up. He's a lot more calmer. He's just at peace with himself. It's good to have that experience around the boys. He's an unreal leader as well. He doesn't keep to himself. He shares his views and opinions, which has been valuable. 

"It's pretty well known he's a big-game player. There's something about Origin that makes him tick. Hopefully we can get that out of him again in game one. I suppose it gives us a lot of confidence, that's what sticks in my head. He can break a game open with one touch. You don't get too many opportunities in Origin. Having a player like that in your team will be really good for us."

The story Cordner apologises for lack of spice in Origin build-up first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.

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