Game 2 of State of Origin heads to Perth this Sunday with the QLD Maroons looking to wrap up another series victory. But Freddy Fittler and his NSW Blues team will be keen to send this series back to Sydney for a decider.
Queensland Maroons vs New South Wales Blues (Sunday, Jun 23 7:50pm)
NSW have made wholesale changes from Game 1 after a disappointing result at Suncorp Stadium. They dominated the early stages of Game 1 and ultimately, they just didn’t put the Maroons away. Starting in the halves, James Maloney rejoins his Panthers teammate Nathan Cleary in a throwback to the successful 2018 series. Another good selection sees Dale Finucane come off the bench, a product of the Craig Bellamy forwards system. Along with Tariq Sims and Wade Graham, the NSW bench has been beefed up to tackle QLD in Game 2 after they were poor in the second half in Game 1. The outside backs is where NSW look a bit random. Josh Morris was unlucky to get dropped and getting rid of Latrell Mitchell after one bad game seems harsh. He's a superstar of the game and will likely bounce back in the coming weeks. I'm sure QLD are happy about his non-selection! The other interesting selections include both Tom Trobojevic and Jack Wighton playing out of position in the centres. A massive change from Game 1 is the injury to David Klemmer who was basically unstoppable in his 51 minutes on the field. So the untried Daniel Saifiti will need to set up.
The Maroons are heading to Perth with massive confidence after a huge comeback victory in Game 1. So their lineup is basically unchanged apart from injuries. Dylan Napa comes into the starting side for Jai Arrow. But he will be nursing a broken wrist. The other change sees Tim Glasby return to the Maroons lineup in place of Joe Ofahengaue. As expected in Game 1, the combination of Ponga and Munster gave the NSW backs nightmares and I don't see that changing in Game 2. Munster is in career best form and NSW tried to nullify Ponga for the 80 minutes, but he's just too good. Daly Cherry Evans also showed no signs of rust after returning from injury into the Origin arena and his form lately is ominous for the Blues.
With the neutral venue in play, the money is currently split between both sides. So much like Game 1, this should be another close encounter as is usually the case in Origin. Ultimately, the total points is set very low in what should be the highest scoring game of the series. The Optus Stadium deck is rock hard at the moment with the AFL season in full swing and that should see both sides enjoy plenty of scoring opportunities. In the 2 NRL games played at this venue, they've both easily beaten 32.5 points. Which includes 36-18 and 32-20 results. QLD are going to be dangerous with Ponga and Munster in the lineup. Especially with NSW playing two centres out of position. Meanwhile, NSW will likely continue to dominate with Cook and Tedesco up the middle of the park. They should also improve attacking wise with a bigger forward pack on the bench and James Maloney in good touch for the Panthers.
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