PREVIEW | State of Origin Game I

Date: Wednesday May 27, 2015

Venue: ANZ Stadium

Kick-Off: 8pm


1 Josh Dugan 2 Will Hopoate  3 Michael Jennings 4 Josh Morris 5 Daniel Tupou 6 Mitchell Pearce 7 Trent Hodkinson 8 Aaron Woods 9 Robbie Farah (c) 10 James Tamou 11 Beau Scott 12 Ryan Hoffman 13 Josh Jackson Interchange 14 Trent Merrin 15 Boyd Cordner 16 David Klemmer 17 Andrew Fifita


1 Billy Slater 2 Darius Boyd 3 Greg Inglis 4 Justin Hodges 5 Will Chambers 6 Johnathan Thurston 7 Cooper Cronk 8 Matt Scott 9 Cameron Smith (c)  10 Nate Myles  11 Aidan Guerra 12 Sam Thaiday 13 Corey Parker Interchange 14 Michael Morgan 15 Josh McGuire 16 Matt Gillett 17 Jacob Lillyman 18th Man Dylan Napa

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After a turbulent week, Queensland head to Sydney hoping to avenge last year’s series loss to New South Wales.

Billy Slater, Justin Hodges and Greg Inglis all enter the clash under injury clouds but are set to play according to Maroons coach, Mal Maninga.

New South Wales’ preparation has been much more low key, but they have had to replace experienced Origin stalwarts within their squad handing David Klemmer and Josh Jackson their NSW debuts.

One of the key matchups for the game is the battle between the halves. Cronk and Thurston provide a proven and formidable pairing for Queensland, especially considering Thurston’s scintillating form for the Cowboys.

On the other hand, Blues coach Laurie Daley has chosen an untested combination with Mitchell Pearce being recalled to the side after a year’s absence. The Rooster’s halfback will play in the unfamiliar five-eighth position alongside last year’s winning halfback Trent Hodkinson.

Both sides have formidable forward packs with all the forwards named for the starting line-ups having represented Australia. Despite both sides having strong forwards, NSW has a lot more power on the bench with the group of Merrin, Cordner, Klemmer and Fifita weighing a combined 443kg. Their Queensland counterparts weigh in at 405kg. However, utility Michael Morgan’s inclusion to the Queensland side will provide more versatility to their attack.

The Blues and Maroons have similar backlines to last year with Hopoate making his Origin return on the wing for the injured Brett Morris, and Josh Dugan moving to fullback. Queensland has an unchanged backline from the side that dominated game 3 last year.

With NSW having an average age of 25.8 and Queensland 29, the Blues could find themselves having an edge as the game wears on. However, this experienced Queensland side is not used to defeat and will want to return to winning ways.

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