State of Origin III Preview:
Date: Wednesday 8th July, 2015
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Queensland 1. Greg Inglis 2. Darius Boyd 3. Will Chambers 4. Justin Hodges 5. Dane Gagai 6. Jonathan 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 Papalii 16. Matt Gillett 17. Jacob Lillyman
New South Wales 1. Josh Dugan 2. Will Hopoate 3. Michael Jennings 4. Josh Morris 5. Brett Morris 6. Mitchell Pearce 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Aaron Woods 9. Robbie Farah 10. James Tamou 11. Beau Scott 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Paul Gallen (C) Interchange: 14. Trent Merrin 15. Boyd Cordner 16. David Klemmer 17. Josh Jackson
The game being hyped as possibly the ‘biggest Origin in history’ takes place this Wednesday night when the XXXX Queensland Maroons clash with the VB NSW Blues in the game three decider at Suncorp Stadium.
After a dominant performance from NSW in game two, the Maroons return home and will be looking to find the form that saw them win game one.
In terms of team news, its a case of if it’s not broke don’t fix it for NSW with the only concern surrounding dummy-half Robbie Farah. It seems he will be ruled out so Cronulla rake Michael Ennis will come into the side.
Queensland have been rocked with injuries as Billy Slater has been ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury and Josh McGuire has torn his Achilles. In their place comes Josh Papalii for his first game of the series and Dane Gagai will make his debut on the wing. Cooper Cronk also returns to the side in place of Daly Cherry-Evans.
Despite the lopsided result in the second game both these sides are very evenly matched. While the Queenslanders have the experience on their side, the exuberance of the NSW forward pack, particularly in Aaron Woods and David Klemmer, well and truly makes up for that.
With the injury cloud around Robbie Farah and his bid to race the clock to be fit, it must be seen as a distraction for the visiting team. Going into a tough environment with 50,000 fans trying to boo them out of the stadium, Michael Ennis is a good player but he has been known to lose his cool and in his last stint in Origin cost NSW with silly penalties.
The biggest shock north of the border was the decision to completely leave out Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans. When Cooper Cronk came back into the team it was clear he would be in the starting team but Mal Meninga has opted for Cowboys Michael Morgan as the utility instead. Cherry-Evans has struggled at Origin level but he is a premiership and Australian player so it still comes as a surprise.
This will be a game for the ages as NSW looks for two in-a-row and Queensland looks to reclaim their crown. Despite the home-field advantage, the passion and drive from the young players of the Blues will ensure it will be another year south of the border for the trophy.
Prediction NSW by 4.