By Stephen Gallagher
It all comes down to this.
State Of Origin Game Three get underway at Suncorp Stadium. The 54th match on Suncorp Soil, where the home side has prevailed 33 times previously. The visitors with 19 wins to their name – and one draw between the two.
Game One was a total domination by New South Wales at this very ground. They pinched every weakness the Queenslanders had, and squeezed their way through to a victory for the ages.
Game Two saw changes galore through the Maroon’s camp. Hero Billy Slater made his much-anticipated return, and a typical Canetoad “never say die” attitude and a cool-as-you-like conversion from maestro Johnathan Thurston saw them clinch it at the death as the Blues faded.
This game will see the end of the Queensland dynasty. With Slater, Cronk, and Smith all set to bow out of the representative circle; with Thurston having played his last match for Queensland in his game two heroics.
The Queenslanders have bred success for such a long time. It’s been in their veins since the inception of Origin. Where the country boys rolled up and rolled over the professionals in sky blue.
Without adding any more pressure to this match, this side would love to do anything they can to send out their legends the only way they know how – with a solid win in front of a sold out stadium.
While on the other side of the fence, 25 year old Boyd Cordner looks to be the first New South Wales captain to lead his side to an Origin series win with a first attempt since Danny Buderus in 2005. Obviously there’s been a lack of success since then for the Cockroaches, but this would sure be a good way to start.
The Blues butchered their way out of a series win at home, which will definitely hurt this side. They have to bottle it, and use it for the greater good without the frustrations of letting it slip get in the way.
Queensland have had to call upon more debutantes, with Storm gun Cameron Munster and Bronco Ben Hunt called in to the squad to help keep the shield north of the boarder.
Both these two are more than capable to get the job done. Such incredible talents in their own right, and being surrounded by the best Queensland has to offer will only help them more.
New South Wales are unchanged in what can only be called as “a very long time” through an entire series.
The elation of game one, the bitter taste of game two, will only give them a recipe for success in Game Three. This side does not want to lose from such a position. They have to replicate what they did in Game One to claim the Origin crown.
There’s 80 minutes of rugby league football ahead. There’s 34 players who want to win this match, but only one team who can come away with the spoils at the end of it.
Queensland have the motivation and success behind them, and New South Wales have to get over the line to show they’ve got it right on and off the field.
TIP: Queensland’s first try scorer in Cameron Munster could be a good call.
For New South Wales, look for James Tedesco to cross first.
I’m taking New South Wales by 6.
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