Australia star ready for battle

New South Wales (10/11 to win series) prop James Tamou believes his form leading into the State of Origin is below his normal standards but admits he is a better player since his Origin debut last year.

The New Zealand-born forward was a surprise pick last year when he made his debut one month after making his Test debut for Australia against his country of birth.

His performances for NSW and Australia showed he had the potential to stay at the highest level but Tamou believes his form for the North Queensland Cowboys this season is below par.

Tamou will go head-to-head with Cowboys front-row partner Matt Scott and the 24-year-old believes the criticism of him and Scott is warranted going into the first game on Wednesday.

Queensland (11-2 to win the Series 3-0) will be without the experienced Petero Civoniceva for the first time in 13 years for a Series and Ben Hannant is out with a calf injury.

Some outsiders think this year could see NSW finally end their long run without a Series win but Tamou is still expecting a tough test as he looks to show his potential.

He said: “With Queensland, the reason they have been so good, it is their depth. I’ve been criticised and rightfully so. I haven’t been happy with how I have played to be brutally honest.

“I definitely could do better and, heading into Origin, there is no better time to pick up my act. I appreciate being selected again and really know what I need to do.”

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