State Of Origin is set to kick off on Sunday. Feels a bit weird, really. We’re so used to the Wednesday fixture, but I for one welcome our Sunday Origin overlords.
After bombing game two at home last year, which ultimately led to their demise once again, New South Wales will hate go down that same road.
I would say the pressure is on them, because of the past. Despite this new era, there’s still that lingering nervous energy of New South Wales fans that this could be a case of déjà vu.
Both sides have been forced to make changes through injury – with New South Wales losing their moustached man Reagan Campbell-Gillard to a broken jaw, bringing in Matt Prior.
No, not the former English wicket keeper, but the 31 year old, two time premiership winner who becomes the fourth oldest debutante for the Blues.
Queensland lose Michael Morgan to a bicep injury suffered in a weak attempt to tackle last week, and Anthony Milford representing Samoa on Saturday. Wonderkid Kalyn Ponga and fringe forward Tim Glasby round out the 18 man Maroons squad, with Kevvy Walters confirming Ponga will play.
Queensland have been in this position before, down one nil in the series, and there’s nothing quite like the series on the line to bring out the best of this state.
They want to keep the series alive. They want to win the series in Queensland in game three, but they’ll have to be a lot more competitive in this match if they want any chance of that.
Queensland were oddly quiet in game one. Their forwards were slow and made no statement other than some pressure in the first five minutes.
New South Wales will know it’s all on their shoulders to get it done. Coach Freddy Fittler will play down the favourites tag, and will keep a cool head in front of his inexperienced squad.
The Blues star studded, speed infused, x factor backline have to fire early. They took a little while to warm up in game one, but when they got some ball – they looked really good.
Queensland’s defence was led by their captain Greg Inglis, but I think he needs to lead their attack. They looked a little aimless with Hunt and Munster together. Inglis has shown he leads by example, and if he can devastate create chances for the Queenslanders, they will be in with a grin.
Damien Cook and James Tedesco worked perfectly in tandem in game one, and if they can do the same again in this match, then I feel the Blues will be at their best chance to wrap up the series.
I’m interested to see how Kalyn Ponga is used. Everyone knows how freakishly talented he is, and what he is capable of – but Queensland can’t pin their hopes on just one bloke.
I’m tipping New South Wales to wrap up the series with a game two victory. 30-18.
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