I feel like we have been here before…
New South Wales got the 2013 State Of Origin series off to a great start with an emphatic victory in Sydney. Then, as soon as the game finished, things started going pear shaped for the Blues. Injuries and suspensions and crushed the optimism New South Wales had after the first game. Now its fair to say the Blues are coming home with a wet sail.
For Queensland, things just keep getting better and better!
After a really bad loss in the first match, they made a few changes and just destroyed the Blues in game two up in Brisbane. As the New South Wales team dealt with a thousands issues, things have been so crusey for the Maroons. They head into game three full of confidence and red hot favorites.
I have to say right off the bat, I don’t think the Blues are ready for this contest. After walking into an ambush in game two completely unprepared, I can not see New South Wales winning the decider.
I think the changes Queensland made to their lineup in game two were just what they needed. Add to that the injuries to Jarryd Hayne and Paul Gallen and I can’t see anything other than a Queensland victory.
Queensland once again have to get off to a good start in game three. In game one they were blown off the park by New South Wales over the first 25 minutes of the match. They can’t afford to let the Blues get a head start on home turf.
It will be interesting to see How Billy Slater goes in this game. He has been fairly quiet over the last few months by his standards. Normally his combination with Cooper Cronk would be causing New South Wales many sleepless nights. So far in this series though it hasn’t been a factor.
As always, the more ball that Greg Inglis gets, the better for Queensland. If the Maroons find themselves down in the second half I think we will see Inglis moved to fullback to get him more involved. His other center, Justin Hodges, has been fantastic in the series. New South Wales need to show him down, especially in the second half of the match.
New South Wales need to establish their dominance in the forwards early on. They have picked four forwards on the bench and you would think that it will go a long way to stopping that fall off we have seen from them in the first two games after an early period of dominance.
The play of the New South Wales halves could decide this match. James Maloney’s defense needs to be a lot better than it was in game two, and Mitchell Pearce needs to be a lot better full stop. As I wrote earlier, this is a career defining game for Mitchell Pearce. All the pressure is on him to perform.
While we have seen a lot of talk about both sides looking to square up with one another, I doubt we will see any trouble. With the series on the line and the threat of a sin binning hanging over any player that throws a punch, its just not worth the risk.
Hopefully the referees are not a huge factor in this game, although as we have become use to seeing in Rugby League these days, I’m sure the losing team will blame them no matter what!
I think this is going to be a really close game. I think we will see few, if any, points early on. That means the Blues pack won’t be steamrolling the Maroons as we saw in game one, and we won’t see a Queensland ambush as we did in game two.
With the changes both teams have made over the course of this series, I think their forward packs, including their forwards off the bench, are at their best. They will all but cancel each other out. They are very even.
That leaves it up to the backs to win the game. That is a worry for New South Wales.
Jonathan Thurston has been kept very quiet through this series by very good New South Wales defense. An Origin decider is just the type of moment when you would expect a great player like Thurston to stand tall and show what he is capable of.
Queensland are full of big game players and they will be very comfortable with the game being close as the full time siren draws close.
I think we are going to see both Cameron Smith and Robbie Farah have epic games. Smith has been handled fairly well by New South Wales in this series. He is due for a big one. Farah meanwhile is captaining his state for the first time. I think that will bring out the best in him.
I just can not see this Queensland team, with all of its big game experience, losing a deciding Origin match. As a New South Wales supporter I hope I am wrong. I hope the Blues stand up and end Queenslands run of seven straight Origin series wins.
That is why I must do this…
I’m tipping New South Wales to win by a scoreline of 12-10.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com