Andrew Pelechaty previews the Suncorp Stadium Origin decider …
Queensland Maroons Vs New South Wales Blues
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Date: Wednesday July 13, 8:10pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWSEmbed from Getty Images
Maroons: 1. Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle Knights), 2. Selwyn Cobbo (Brisbane Broncos), 3. Valentine Holmes (North Queensland Cowboys), 4. Dane Gagai (Newcastle Knights), 5. Murray Taulagi (North Queensland Cowboys), 6. Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm), 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles), 8. Lindsay Collins (Sydney Roosters), 9. Ben Hunt (St George Illawarra Dragons), 10. Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders), 11. Kurt Capewell (Brisbane Broncos), 12. Jeremiah Nanai (North Queensland Cowboys), 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Gold Coast Titans), 14. Harry Grant (Melbourne Storm), 15. Jai Arrow (South Sydney Rabbitohs), 16. Patrick Carrigan (Brisbane Broncos), 17. Tom Gilbert (North Queensland Cowboys), 18. Thomas Flegler (Brisbane Broncos), 19. Tom Dearden (North Queensland Cowboys), 20. Beau Fermor (Gold Coast Titans), 21. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (North Queensland Cowboys), 22. Sam Walker (Sydney Roosters). Coach: Billy Slater.
Just one change initially for the Maroons, with North Queensland’s Tom Gilbert replacing Felise Kaufusi, who is out for personal reasons. Though they received a double blow on Friday (July 8), with Cameron Munster and Murray Taulagi returning positive COVID-19 RAT tests.
Corey Oates will replace Murray Taulagi and Thomas Dearden will replace Cameron Munster.Embed from Getty Images
Blues: 1. James Tedesco (c) (Sydney Roosters), 2. Brian To’o (Penrith Panthers), 3. Matt Burton (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), 4. Stephen Crichton (Penrith Panthers), 5. Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters), 6. Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers), 7. Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers), 8. Jordan McLean (North Queensland Cowboys), 9. Apisai Koroisau (Penrith Panthers), 10. Jake Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles), 11. Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs), 12. Liam Martin (Penrith Panthers), 13. Isaah Yeo (Penrith Panthers), 14. Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs), 15. Angus Crichton (Sydney Roosters), 16. Junior Paulo (Parramatta Eels), 17. Siosifa Talakai (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), 18. Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders), 19. Nicho Hynes (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), 20. Clint Gutherson (Parramatta Eels), 21. Jacob Saifiti (Newcastle Knights), 22. Reece Robson (North Queensland Cowboys). Coach: Brad Fittler.
After seven changes for game two, the Blues had just one inclusion for the decider: North Queensland’s Jordan McLean replacing the injured Payne Haas, until a heartbroken McLean was forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury: he will be replaced by Jacob Saifiti. The Cowboys have had nine players involved in this year’s series (both playing and in the extended squad), a fantastic reward for their incredible season.
Matt Burton’s excellent game in Perth has seen Jack Wighton (returning from COVID-19) demoted to the Extended Bench.
Referee: Ashley Klein
After a poor game one, New South Wales found their wonderland in Perth, with a dominant 44-12 win, silencing the critics who assumed Freddy had pushed the panic button with so many changes.
While Queensland led 12-8 after half-an-hour, Felise Kaufusi‘s sin bin just before the break was crucial: Brian To’o scored just before half-time to give NSW a 14-12 lead, and the Blues kicked on, winning the second half 30-0. They scored seven tries in all: a double for Nathan Cleary, and singles to Matt Burton, To’o, Daniel Tupou, Jarome Luai, and Angus Crichton. Kaufusi and Cameron Munster scored for Queensland.
Cleary played like he had a point to prove, with the two tries and eight goals from eight attempts. While helped by Wighton’s COVID-19 omission, Burton made the most of his chance and deserved to retain his centre spot (though Jack didn’t play that well in Canberra’s loss to St George Illawarra either).
While NSW looked back to their 2021 flashiness, they also had three players topping 200 All Run Metres: To’o (261), James Tedesco (259), and Tupou (200). Kalyn Ponga was Queensland’s biggest gainer (123 ARM).
A packed-out decider at Lang Park is a huge advantage for Queensland, but it’s not a guaranteed win. Queensland had the luxury of all three games at home last year (Townsville, Brisbane, Gold Coast) and lost the series 2-1, including a 26-0 loss at Lang Park. Queensland’s best chance to nullify NSW’s dangerous attack is to to jump out to a big lead themselves and let the parochial Lang Park crowd ride them home. Though losing Munster to COVID-19 is a massive blow.
Going on current form, NSW will be deserved favourites here. Will Queensland be more competitive than they were in Perth?Embed from Getty Images
As expected, Queensland have dominated in the deciders.
- They’ve won 8 from 11 deciders at home (two to NSW and one draw). They’ve won the last five, with NSW’s last win coming in 2005
- Queensland also have a 14-5-1 record for all deciders, and a 16-7-1 final game record at Lang Park (regardless of the series’ standing)
- Queensland also lead all game three matches 26-12-2
- Queensland has never lost a Lang Park decider after winning game one in Sydney and have won six out of seven series.
While this may be overwhelming evidence for a Queensland win, New South Wales were irresistible in Perth and Munster’s omission won’t help the Maroons.
Blues by 10.
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