With the Queenslander’s taking the honours in the first two State of Origin games, this third match-up would appear to be a dead rubber.
But when it comes to State of Origin, there is no such thing.
There has only been seven ‘whitewashes’ in the history of State of Origin with the last one back in 2010, in the middle of the Maroons’ period of dominance where they won eight series in a row.
If they win this game, you can comfortably argue that the 2014 series loss to the Blues was nothing more than a hiccup.
That argument is reinforced by the fact the actual points scored in that series was 26-44 against the Blues.
Take it as gospel, the opportunity to add another harrowing chapter to the Blues Origin history, by inflicting a 3-0 series defeat, won’t be taken lightly by the banana-benders from the North.
NEW SOUTH WALES BLUES
Unsurprisingly the New South Wales Blues team is different to the one that played in the last game. It’s also different to the one that played in the first game. When you get to within two points in one game, but then lose by ten in the second and deciding game, you have to look at your options.
So, out goes Dylan Walker. The reasons behind his original selection are still to be adequately answered. Out goes Greg Bird. He won’t be afforded one last Origin in front of his home crowd like his mate and Blues captain Paul Gallen. Out goes Matty Moylan, who showed some promise on the big stage, but James Tedesco has forced the issue and is now the Blues fullback. Hold the phone ‘Blocker’, Adam Reynolds has broken down in camp, so Moylan gets welcomed back to the fold…but on the pine.
So, the Blues team looks like this:
1. James Tedesco - A very talented Tiger making his debut. Could well own the Number 1 jersey for as long as he wants it. As long as he brings his club form to the Origin arena.
2. Blake Ferguson – 3 Origins: Roosters centre playing on the wing. Hasn’t done a lot for the Blues or Roosters of late to be honest. Still no tries in Origin.
3. Michael Jennings – 17 Origins; 5 Tries: A speedster from the Eels, but hasn’t found much space in this series thus far. The changes in the halves may help that in this game.
4. Josh Dugan – 8 Origins; 2 Tries: Missed last game through injury. A fullback playing in the centres but seems to do a good enough job. Which tells you all you need to know about the right centre stocks for the Blues.
5. Josh Mansour – Only early in his Origin career but warming to the task. Playing outside Jennings, so he won’t get too many opportunities in general play. Needs to come in and look for the footy to help his forwards out and maybe sniff out a chance.
14. Jack Bird – Bird was going to be the bench impact player but Laurie Daley and the Blues staff have seen something they like in the young Shark and have thrown him in as the starting five-eighth. Only playing his second Origin, but didn’t look out of place in Brisbane three weeks ago.
6. James Maloney – 5 Origins; 1 Try: A fellow Shark, will know when to give the ball to his younger halves partner and when to take control himself. Will be relied upon for a dominant kicking game. May well be the position for him.
8. Aaron Woods – 10 Origins; 1 Try: The Wests Tigers captain will be looking for a big game, especially since it could well be a good mate’s (Robbie Farah) last game for the Blues. A handful for defences with great footwork and offloads. The Blues need him to be at his best.
9. Robbie Farah – 15 Origins: Yet to score a try at Origin level which is strange for such an attacking player. Could be his last in the Blue jersey so he’ll put in a big performance.
10. Paul Gallen – 23 Origins; 1 Try: Announced earlier that this would be his last Origin series and you can guarantee that he won’t die wondering. Needs to just do his job, and not other people’s. And to be reminded that he’s a front rower, not first receiver. Won’t stop working.
11. Wade Graham – Origin debutant that would have played in the last Origin game but was found to have coat-hangered Johnathan Thurston in Cronulla’s defeat of North Queensland just before the game in Brisbane. Tough as nails, skillful and a great replacement for Greg Bird.
12. Josh Jackson – 5 Origins: Will tackle anything and will do so all game. Hasn’t had a lot of opportunity with ball in hand but needs to be aggressive when he does get that opportunity. If he runs the right angle on the flank, he may cause a few issues for the Queenslanders.
13. Tyson Frizell – Only playing his second Origin but looked at home in his first one in hostile territory. Scored a great try by running a nice angle and getting himself in position to hit the hole. Was one of the Blues best in Brisbane, needs a follow-up effort here.
15. James Tamou – 13 Origins: Started from the bench last game and didn’t really have an impact. Starting from the bench once again here, so you’d hope he’d have learnt from last game. Can be a damaging runner of the ball but you get the feeling he needs to get angry.
16. David Klemmer – 5 Origins: Needs to unlock the madman we’ve come to love. Has been around long enough now to know what he needs to do to help his team get a win.
17. Andrew Fifita – 6 Origins: Apparently has a score to settle with a couple of Maroons after a few things were said after Game Two. We say “Dave, to the victors go the spoils. But if you want to inflict some Wild West Justice on those hombre's, we won’t get in your way.” Whatever works right?
18. Matt Moylan – Gets to finish off the series he started, eventually. Can feel a bit hard done by but he’ll have an opportunity to go on and try to weave a bit of magic, which he is very capable of doing. He won’t just sit and watch everything happen in front of him like another bloke did – and incidentally not playing this game.
When looking at the Queensland side, you get a feeling similar to that of déjà vu. It’s almost as though you’ve read the list before. You feel like that because we have all read this list before, more or less. However, every now and then there is the odd change. For this game, the changes are that they welcome back Origin veteran Nate Myles and bring in a 30-year-old Origin debutant who has been knocking on the door for years. Incidentally, this debutant also has a hell of a partnership with none other than one Johnathan Thurston.
That would be fairly handy we would think. Especially since these two are replacing Josh Papalii and Michael Morgan. And they are only being replaced thanks to injury; they haven’t done anything wrong and been dropped by any stretch.
So, the Maroons team looks like this:
1. Darius Boyd - 25 Origins; 16 Tries: Can thank GI for a lot of his tries, but has shown he is more than capable of setting them up for a few others himself.
2. Corey Oates - Only started playing on the Origin arena this season, but looks like he will be there for a long time. Has brought great Broncos form into Origin.
3. Greg Inglis - 29 Origins; 17 Tries: You can add the odd 15 or so try-assists to those stats as well. Hasn’t been at his best all 2016. He might not be again here, but his presence adds a tonne.
4. Justin O’Neill - Like Oates, has only become part of the Origin scene this season. Part of the Storm production line and been one of their best for a while. Looks at home here.
5. Dane Gagai - 3 Origins; 5 Tries: Scored a hat-trick last game. A quality player who shocks everyone when he tells them he plays for the Newcastle Knights.
6. Johnathan Thurston - 35 Origins; 5 Tries; 95 Goals: Possibly the greatest player to lace on a boot. If not, he’s definitely in the argument. Absolute class that makes the great players around him even better.
7. Cooper Cronk – 18 Origins; 3 Tries: Has only lost four origin games. Adds polish to end of sets, organises the team like a General and enables JT to do what he wants, when he wants. Can kick the lights out of a field goal from anywhere whilst blindfolded. Just ask the Blues.
8. Matt Scott – 21 Origins; 1 Try: Scott isn’t there to score tries, he’s there to set the platform which he does exceptionally well. Shane Webcke version II.
9. Cameron Smith – 38 Origins; 5 Tries; 16 Goals: The Australian captain has led the Maroons to another series win, and by the sound of it, is intent on scoring the series sweep for his state.
10. Josh McGuire – Would be thinking this Origin business is pretty good. Two games, two wins and a series win under the belt already. Had a bit to say on the field as well as Twitter after the siren sounded on Game Two. Reckon a Blue or two may have heard him.
11. Matt Gillett – 14 Origins; 2 Tries: Already considered a future Origin captain by current captain Smith. Very dangerous on the edges when he decides to shift infield with ball in hand. No-nonsense type.
12. Sam Thaiday – 27 Origins; 3 Tries: Slammin’ Sam can be as inspirational as anyone when the moment grabs him. Looking at the end of his career now but there’s not much he hasn’t achieved.
13. Corey Parker – 18 origins: Has never scored a point in an Origin game. This is his last one so he’s not going to leave anything on the field. Somehow got better as he got older. Leaving while on top.
14. Nate Myles – 30 Origins; 1 Try: Back under injury cloud but reckons he’s good to go.
15. Jacob Lillyman – 12 Origins: No tries but plenty of metres. Expect the same.
16. Aidan Guerra – 8 Origins; 2 Tries: Not in great form for the Roosters, but he does the job for Queensland. Which lately has amounted to ‘don’t stuff up’.
17. Gavin Cooper – Origin Debut: At 30 years old, the North Queensland Cowboy finally gets his chance. He’ll slot into the left edge and do what JT tells him to. Like every other game he’s played.
We have State of Origin Game 3 covered with two tournaments on offer. One is a $55 Buy-In with a minimum cash pool of $500; the other is a $6 Buy-In with a guaranteed $50 prize - Winner Takes All.
Our Tournament Bets
Match Result: Queensland @ $1.95 – Lots of new faces in the Blues side with queries on the coaching staff. Queensland full of older heads and genuinely want to win this game very badly.
Total Points Over/Under (+/-36.5): Over 36.5 @ $1.85 – Going to be very cold but the prospect of rain is non-existent and with the wind blowing a fair bit, the usual dew on Homebush won’t be anywhere to be seen. Expecting a more attacking brand of footy from both teams.
Home Team First Tryscorer: James Tedesco @ $6 – Yes he’s on debut, but he can sniff out a try as good as anyone. Just needs a small bit of space and watch him go.
Away Team First Tryscorer: Corey Oates @ $4.25 – The Maroons went to his edge early and often last game without success until later in the second half. They’ll do it again, but hopefully with a bit more success this time.
This article first appeared on TopBetta HERE