New South Wales have already wrapped up the 2021 State of Origin series with dominant performances in both fo the first two games. Game 3 must be played though, and it is set to take place from CBUS Super Stadium this Wednesday night. As always, greg Davis has you covered with a full preview and betting tips for the clash below.
Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast, Wednesday, July 14th, 8.10pm
1. James Tedesco 2. Brian To'o 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Tom Trbojevic 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Jack Wighton 7. Mitchell Moses 18. Dale Finucane 9. Damien Cook 10. Junior Paulo 11. Cameron Murray 12. Tariq Sims 13. Isaah Yeo. Interchange: 14. Api Koroisau 15. Angus Crichton 16. Payne Haas 17. Liam Martin. Reserve: 19. Nicho Hynes
1.Kalyn Ponga 2. Valentine Holmes 3. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 4. Dane Gagai 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Christian Welch 9. Ben Hunt 10. Josh Papalii 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Felise Kaufusi 15. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui. Interchange: 14. AJ Brimson 16. Moeaki Fotuaika 18. Francis Molo 20. Thomas Flegler. Reserve: 19. Kurt Mann
THE bright lights along with the sun, surf and sand of the Gold Coast has brought many a young interstate visitor unstuck.
But not even the temptations of the glitter strip will be enough to slightly derail NSW’s bid for a blue rinse of the 2021 Origin series.
With a combined for-and-against of 76-6 across the first 160 minutes of their year’s interstate mismatch, NSW has unprecedented momentum and confidence heading into the clash which has been moved from Sydney to Newcastle and then the Gold Coast due to COVID concerns.
The much-maligned Maroons are staring down the barrel of being – statistically – the worst Queensland team in 41 years of Origin.
The way that NSW have emphatically and relentlessly put QLD to the sword in the first two games would suggest that the Blues are not about to take the foot off the pedal in this ‘dead rubber’.
Blues coach Brad Fittler is close to former NSW mentor Phil Gould who says repeatedly that there is no such thing as a dead rubber in Origin and the Blues should be desperate to finish the series with a win and not collect the trophy after a loss.
NSW has lost its halves pairing of injured Panthers Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai with Mitchell Moses and Jack Wighton taking their place in the chief playmaking roles.
They won’t have the natural combination that Cleary and Luai enjoy being clubmates but they are no mugs either and have a powerful pack in front of them and a backline with speed and skill to burn outside them.
They don’t need to overplay their hand and must keep things simple. The attack of the Blues may not be as slick but it should have enough firepower all over the park to get home.
Producing a morale-boosting win for the lockdown-savaged Sydney may also be extra motivation for the Blues.
But by how far will NSW win?
Surely Queensland fire a shot? Something…anything. The series win in 2020 seems an eternity ago.
Having the first two games in the Sunshine State has proven no advantage for the Maroons who have had disruptions in the build-up to every match in 2021.
The fly in the ointment for game three was Jai Arrow’s dismissal from the squad after bringing a “guest” into Queensland’s bio-secure bubble. Maroons coach Paul Green even rang the Queensland Premier to apologise.
The Maroons do have Kalyn Ponga at their disposal for the first time this year and have strike out wide with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow in the centres which allows Kurt Capewell to go back into his preferred spot in the backrow. Ben Hunt at hooker is also a plus for the Maroons who have their culture come into question.
While there should be more points in this QLD line-up (let’s be honest, the only way is up) and the NSW attack may not be as polished without their Penrith playmakers, it is hard to see the Maroons winning this one. This Blues squad is just too good.
It should at least be closer than the first two blow-outs. One of the appeals of Origin football is how tight games are. As a concept, Origin needs Queensland to show some fight.
Kalyn Ponga Anytime Try ($3 at Sportsbet)
Josh Addo-Carr 1st Try ($8.50 at Sportsbet)
Josh Addo-Carr (1st Try)/Damien Cook (MOM) Double ($88 at Sportsbet)
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