Wednesday night features a high-stakes Game 3 decider and this is what State of Origin is all about! NSW and QLD will battle to claim the 2019 series after two contrasting games thus far in the series. After dropping Game 1 at Suncorp Stadium 18-14, the Blues roared back into the series with a clinical display in Perth, smashing the Maroons 38-6. As a result, the money is clearly with the home side as they look to continue the momentum at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night. But don't write off the Maroons just yet as they'll enjoy the underdog tag once again.
Wednesday 10th July, 8.10pm (AEST), ANZ Stadium
Following the Blues impressive Game 2 victory, they've stuck with the same team with the only changes coming from injury/suspension. Nathan Cleary suffered an ankle injury midway through Game 2 and will be replaced by the Origin experienced Mitchell Pearce. Pearce's Origin record is not great but to be fair, he was facing up against arguably the greatest QLD side in history with the likes of Smith, Thurston, Cronk, Slater and Inglis. He's currently one of the best options at halfback and should enjoy a better showing this time around. The other change will see David Klemmer return from injury in place of Tariq Sims. Klemmer will come off the bench and he'll be a force before half-time - the most likely time that Fittler will get him on the field. He dominated the Maroons in Game 1 so he's a big in for the home side. The other talking point after Game 2 was the brilliant team changes by Freddy Fittler. He took the risk of playing Tom Trbojevic and Jack Wighton out of position in the centres, which worked wonders. Trbojevic finished with a hat-trick and Wighton made up for his intercept in Game 1 with a solid showing. James Maloney was also a great in, he's named at five-eighth but he'll be directing most of the attacking plays. The bench is also looking more improved, especially with Wade Graham who filled in for the injured Cleary in Game 2.
Game 2 was basically a night to forget for the Maroons and they have a number of concerns coming into this crucial Game 3 matchup. Ponga is out with injury and that will see Cameron Munster move into the fullback position. He is comfortable with the #1 on his back considering he started his career at fullback for the Storm when Slater was missing from the lineup. In Munster's place at five-eighth will be Corey Norman. He's had an injury-interrupted season but when he's been on the field for the Dragons, he's proved to be a match-winner. The forward pack will also undergo some changes with Napa and Wallace both casualties of the Game 2 loss. Christian Welch gets his opportunity off the bench and it just adds to the number of Craig Bellamy forwards that have played in this arena recently. Brisbane enforcer Joe Ofahengaue is back for this clash and he'll start at #8. The Queenslanders may be forced into a late change if Matt Gillett can't overcome a broken nose. They selected Napa with a broken wrist in Game 2 and that failed miserably. So they'll hopefully learn from that decision.
The advantage is well with the Blues in Game 3 and that's reflected in the betting odds. They have the momentum after thrashing the Maroons in Perth and now head home to wrap up series in-front of their home faithful at ANZ Stadium. However, Origin games at ANZ have a trend of finishing with a very close margin so in a high stakes Game 3 matchup, we can't see any difference. Last year, the Blues got home 18-14 and that made it 7 straight Origin games at ANZ that have been decided by 4 points or less. The Under also has a great record at 9-3 since 2010. So this Game 3 figures to be a close and low scoring affair. The Maroons will hopefully make some defensive adjustments after allowing 38 points last time out and that will keep them in this contest. In the end, the either team by under 10 or less at Sportsbet looks to be the best play based on the previous results at ANZ Stadium.
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