IT seems rather ironic that two Mid North Coast products could stand in the way of New South Wales and a rare State of Origin series win.
We all know the history behind Greg Inglis – the current Queensland captain who will lead the Maroons out onto ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.
Someone just as important as Inglis at Sydney Olympic Park will be Port Macquarie Sharks president Jamie Dowse, who will fill the role as Queensland team manager.
“Port Macquarie is in Queensland, isn’t it?” Dowse quipped.
“Kempsey is; GI (Inglis) told me that on Wednesday.”
The Sharks president has spent most of his time on the correct side of the Tweed, but a 15-year stint as a banana-bender has provided him with some bargaining chips.
Dowse’s role up until kick-off on Sunday requires him to book flights, accommodation and give the Maroons dressing room as much of a home feel as possible.
“It’s not just filling the water bottles up, it’s doing the logistics too,” Dowse said.
Once he has completed those logistics, he’ll be down on the bench hoping to see the Maroons level the series following a 22-12 defeat at the MCG two and a half weeks ago.
While he has spent most of his years in the Hastings, Dowse was born in Inverell.
There's no question about his loyalty to the Maroons crusade.
The 15-year stint at Norths Devils doubled as his indoctrination into the Queensland ways.
Port Macquarie is in Queensland, isn’t it?Port Macquarie Sharks president Jamie Dowse
He'd never be a Blue again.
“I’ve been in the Queensland camps before with the 16s, 18s and Residents so it’s nothing new to me really, it feels normal,” he said.
Dowse takes some of the credit for the development of Maroons front-rower Jarrod Wallace and Gold Coast Titans teammate Jai Arrow.
Wallace will start the match while Arrow will provide impact off the bench.
“Being development manager up in Queensland where I developed kids for the future … you look at players like Jarrod Wallace and Jai Arrow,” Dowse said.
“They all came through Norths when I was there so I’d like to think I had a hand in their development on and off the field.”
When asked what the difference was between the two sides and what Queensland had to do better in game two, Dowse’s view was simplistic.
“Execution,” he said.
“I don’t think there was much between the two sides and both sides have got a lot to work on too.”
It all goes on the line at 8pm on Sunday night.
Jarrod Wallace and Jai Arrow all came through Norths when I was there so I’d like to think I had a hand in their development on and off the field.Jamie Dowse
“Game two … winner takes it all,” Dowse said.
“If NSW win they’ve won the series which will be good for the game, but Queensland have dominated for a lot of years.
“The tide is always going to turn but hopefully it doesn’t happen this year while I’m involved.”
The Mid North Coast flavour continues on the other side of halfway with Taree duo Latrell Mitchell and Boyd Cordner to line up alongside Kempsey’s James Roberts.
Cordner was arguably the Blues best forward in game one while Mitchell crossed for an important second-half try.
Roberts will look to receive more ball after a quiet opening game to the series.