NSW Blues enforcer Paul Vaughan says big men will be key to Origin I

Forget superstars like Kalyn Ponga and Latrell Mitchell.

NSW prop Paul Vaughan says State of Origin I is going to be won in the middle by the big men in the opening 25 minutes at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Blues' front-row contingent of Vaughan, David Klemmer and Payne Haas have been dominant at clubland in 2019.

And if they're able to get on top of opposition props Josh Papalii, Jai Arrow and Dylan Napa, they will go a long way to opening up the game for their star quick men.

In the corresponding match last year the likes of Damien Cook and James Tedesco ran riot on the back of their big men's go-forward.
And it's a game plan Vaughan wanted to repeat.

"The forwards have a massive job ahead of them," Vaughan said.

"The first 20-25 minutes are probably where it's going to be won in the middle.

"The backs can play off the back of that. We've got a great backline. That's what we want to do, get them as much ball as we can."

Vaughan was effusive in his praise of Queensland's middle men, in particular former Canberra teammate Papalii.

Vaughan has a game-day ritual of setting himself a personal challenge which often involves getting over the top of his opposite number.
And he said there would be no love lost and predicted fireworks.

"I played a lot of footy with Paps down in Canberra and he's a class player," Vaughan said.

"It's definitely going to be a hard battle and one I'm looking forward to. Jai is probably the form player at the Titans.

"It's a game of footy. If you have a couple of run ins, that's what happens. Everyone wants to play the best they can, it's a physical game.

You can't shy away from it and I'm sure there's going to be a lot of big hits. It's going to be interesting."

Paul Vaughan tackled by Kalyn Ponga during the Holden State of Origin, Game 2. New South Wales Blues v Queensland Maroons , ANZ Stadium,  Sydney, Australia. 24th June 2018. Copyright Photo: David Neilson /
NSW Blues prop Paul Vaughan tackled by Queensland Maroons' star Kalyn Ponga during their State of Origin match at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Source: Photosport

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