Tallis rips into Maroons’ under-fire forwards
A PASSIONATE Gorden Tallis says the new-look Queensland forward pack has a duty to ensure Sunday's must-win clash in Sydney is the starting point of another golden run.
The former Maroons captain said the side, and in particular their under-pressure forwards, had no choice but to make the encounter a line-in-the-sand milestone after succumbing 22-12 at the MCG in game one.
"It's gotta be, it's as simple as that," he told AAP at The Daily Telegraph's Ultimate Footy Lunch.
"They have to - not 'if' or 'what' or 'but'. They're playing for Queensland and we expect them to go out there and do their job."
The NSW forward pack statistically dominated Queensland in the opener, with 55 missed tackles the most damning number to emerge from the loss.
It leaves the Blues just a win away from denting Queensland's incredible run of 11 series wins in the past 12 years.
But an optimistic Tallis thought the result could've gone either way and has backed coach Kevin Walters' call to retain the same forward pack for the rematch and include 20-year-old excitement machine Kalyn Ponga on the bench.
"We've been lucky to have had great players that've been able to execute and had a bit of luck," Tallis said.
"The bounce of the ball went NSW's way in game one and that's what you need in a tight contest.
"But now (the Queensland forward pack) get a chance to set the standard going forward and they have to take it."
Tallis backed Ponga to hold his own if defending in Queensland's front line and said his big-money move from North Queensland to Newcastle this season had proved "the greatest gamble in Knights' history".
"He's a big body … I love watching him play and can't wait to meet the kid actually," he said.