Watch Queensland Maroons vs New South Wales Blues State Of Origin 2017. With this year’s State of Origin series already decided, New South Wales will be out to salvage some pride and avoid being whitewashed for the second time in the past decade. Though the Blues have been competitive this series, the class and experience of the Maroons proved to be the difference in each of the opening two games, and again it proves that experience, and not form, is what wins Origin series.
Tonight’s dead rubber match has given Laurie Daley the chance to blood some new talent, with James Tedesco to debut at fullback while the ladder-leading Sharks’ halves combination of Jack Bird and James Maloney have also been employed.
After two thrilling fixtures it all comes down to this – NSW vs QLD, Origin III at Suncorp Stadium for the right to be crowned State of Origin champions in 2017.
New South Wales appeared to have wrapped up the series after blitzing the Maroons 28-4 in Game 1 up in Brisbane and then leading their rivals with just three minutes remaining in Origin II at ANZ Stadium in Game 2.
However, as is the Queensland way, the Maroons showcased that trademark never-say-die attitude and came away with an incredible last-minute triumph, with Michael Morgan putting Dane Gagai over in the corner and Johnathan Thurston slotting a sideline conversion to hand Queensland the ascendancy heading into Game 3.
But do Queensland have the advantage at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday night, that’s the question? The Blues crushed them by 24 points just over a month ago and they will be without two of their star players – Thurston and fullback Darius Boyd.
Much debate has centred around who will replace Thurston in the halves, and Queensland selectors have made the controversial decision to overlook the form halfback of the competition – Daly Cherry-Evans – in favour of Cameron Munster partnering his Storm teammate Cooper Cronk at five-eighth and Ben Hunt being picked as the bench utility, with Morgan moving into the centres.
It’s a gamble from the Maroons, but it’s understandable in regards to Munster coming in – giving Queensland’s spine an all-Melbourne flavour, while Hunt can probably do just as good a job in a utility role as Cherry-Evans.
New South Wales meanwhile have remained loyal, picking the same players throughout the entire series for the first time since 1996. However the Blues are under immense pressure – only nerves and panic stopped them from winning in Sydney, and they simply cannot afford to lose this after dominating the series until the last three minutes of Game 2.
There are several injury concerns in the Blues camp, most notably to skipper Boyd Cordner and Tyson Frizell, but Laurie Daley is hopeful of all his players recovering in time for Wednesday.
It promises to be an absolutely pulsating encounter, and Queensland are now right in with a chance of securing another Origin series that seemed impossible at half-time in Game 2. But I think NSW lost that game more than Queensland won it, and if the Blues can replicate their dominant performance from Game 1 – which they really should be able to do – then they will scrape home and capture just their second series win since 2005.
NSW have named the same side in all three games for the first time in over two decades, while Cameron Munster and Ben Hunt are the fresh face in the Queensland side, replacing Thurston and Boyd.
New South Wales Blues: James Tedesco, Blake Ferguson, Josh Dugan, Jarryd Hayne, Brett Morris, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Aaron Woods, Nathan Peats, Andrew Fifita, Josh Jackson, Boyd Cordner (capt), Tyson Frizell.
Interchange: David Klemmer, Wade Graham, Jake Trbojevic, Jack Bird. 18th man: Jack De Belin.
Queensland Maroons: Billy Slater, Val Holmes, Will Chambers, Michael Morgan, Dane Gagai, Cameron Munster, Cooper Cronk, Dylan Napa, Cameron Smith (c), Jarrod Wallace, Gavin Cooper, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire, Ben Hunt, Coen Hess, Josh Papalii, Tim Glasby.