NSW bench hooker Apisai Koroisau must be used as an explosive attacking weapon rather than simply an injury back-up in Origin III, legendary Blues coach Phil Gould says.
Koroisau will debut for NSW on Wednesday night on the Gold Coast, playing behind starting hooker Damien Cook.
But Gould insists that he can play a key role if used properly.
"Damien Cook is an 80-minute hooker, there's no doubt, at club level and even at Origin he's done that," Gould said on Wide World of Sports' Six Tackles with Gus podcast.
"But you're talking about Game Three. We've been through the Origins, they've been a bit close together this year, there's been club matches involved. You get to that second half of Origin and sometimes your players who've played every minute of every game are feeling worse for wear. They've got niggling injuries and there's a fatigue factor and depending on how the game goes…
"I think it's an inspired choice to have a hooker on the sideline, a specialist hooker, because that's one position that could cause them trouble if there was an injury in the opening minutes of the clash. Early in last year's Game Three, they lost a specialist position in [James] Tedesco and it really threw them out.
"I think in selecting Api Koroisau on the bench, they've pretty much got all specialist positions covered with someone who can do the job. And tactically, we know what Api Koroisau can do to tire defenders.
"So I'd be sitting there thinking not so much a plan to get Koroisau in the game, but a reaction to get Koroisau in the game. I've just got to see one or two defenders slow out of the marker position or a few players that are struggling with the Queensland side to get back their 10 metres, or they're looking for a little place to hide because they're trying to have a rest; I'd be reacting to that.
"I'd be saying, 'Get Api out there now', and hoping that he's seeing the same thing. Once Api Koroisau gets on to the field, our game narrows and everyone goes through the ruck and we play off the back of him.
"He's there to cover for injury, yes, he's there to get a run at the back end of the game because he's on debut, I'm not going to sit him on the bench all night; but by the same token, if I see that there's opportunity, I'm going to put him on the field and that is a trigger for us to play this way and Api's now in control. Not Moses, not Wighton, not Tedesco. Api Koroisau is in control for the next 10 or 15 minutes.'
Gould harked back to his champion NSW teams of the past, when Craig Wing came on as a super-sub and wreaked havoc from dummy-half.
"I remember back in the day, we had a player like Craig Wing who we could do that with. Craig Wing could go out there and you could use him as an attacking weapon," Gould said.
"He could go out and tire the opposition team out and the minute you would see opposition forwards who were a bit slower on to the ball or a bit slower out of the marker position, or starting to get up a bit slower off the ground after making tackles, bang! You'd put him out there and it would frighten the hell out of them. You can win the game in that 10 minutes.
"I think it's an inspired choice, I think Api Koroisau's just the man to do that. I would be looking at him tactically before anything else and looking for those things in the game to get him out there; rather than just, he's on the bench to cover any injury for Damien Cook and if Damien Cook doesn't get an injury, then hopefully we're in front with 10 minutes to go and I'll give Api a run just to be nice. That's not what he's there for, I'd have him there tactically to explode the game open in a little 10 or 15-minute burst; the latter half of the first half or midway through the first or second half.
"You've got to be watching the opposition team and how they're travelling physically. If you can see any weakness at all, punish them with someone who's fresh and has a single-minded attitude. Once he comes on the field, we all know he's going to run, we all know we're going to play through the middle. Then all of a sudden, you've got 17 blokes playing against three or four blokes on their side. And you win."
NSW must be ruthless in Origin III to give themselves a chance at a historic run of dominance over Queensland.
So says legendary coach Phil Gould, who reckon the Maroons currently the resemble the browbeaten NSW team that copped 11 series defeats in 12 years during Queensland's recent dynasty.
The Blues have since won three of four series under Brad Fittler but copped a shock loss last year. Had they won four in a row, it would have been NSW"s greatest Origin winning streak.
Gould said that the Blues, who have won the opening two matches of this series by a combined 76-6, could not afford to give Queensland the slightest sniff.
"From 2006 to 2017, Queensland produced a decade of dominance," Gould said on Wide World of Sports' Six Tackles with Gus podcast.
"No one would have known that when Darren Lockyer scooped up that ball in 2006 and scurried over under the posts in the last minute of the game to win Queensland their first series in four years, that that was going to lead to an unprecedented run of success for the Maroons and that they would dominate at this level for a decade.
"Now, this NSW team – not that we should ever be talking about dynasties but a lot of these blokes were kids when this was happening. This was their first introduction to Origin football. Payne Haas, who's 21 years of age now, he was six years of age; from the time he was six to 17, all he ever saw was Queensland win Origin matches.
"So I would hope that there's a burning desire within this group of players and with Brad Fittler to create some special times of their own. With the age and the average age of this NSW side, a lot of them can be around at least for the next four or five years.
"And they've got Queensland on the run, so I wouldn't be letting them up easily at all. NSW needs to be ruthless and needs to pride themselves on every performance they have.
"It would be really, really special if a NSW group of players could stick to the task like Queensland did for that 10-year period and take such pride in their performance. It's hard for NSW, we never really win more than one or two series in a row before we succumb to Queensland spirit, they tend to find a way.
"They did it last year, they weren't expected to win last year. NSW had won two series in a row, Wayne Bennett and Queensland pulled their pants down and got a victory that they shouldn't have got and here we are, we're starting again.
"You start talking game three lightly tonight because the series is already won, all, you're doing is inviting disappointment into your life, because that gives them incentive that they're on the right track. You've got to bury them again tonight.
"We've got them making team changes every time now because they're losing. Make them think about themselves again, make them change the team and the coach for next year. Stick it into them."
Queensland great and current selector Darren Lockyer admitted that Origin III was still of significant importance despite being a dead rubber.
"I think everyone, from the coaching staff to the players, understand there's a little bit riding on this game," Lockyer said on QLDER.
"Obviously pride is a big part of it, but you're only as good as your last game, so how they finish the series is pretty crucial."