Our league expert believes NSW will be up against it to beat QLD at Suncorp.
STATE OF ORIGIN II PREVIEW
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Favourite backers should be willing to take the Queenslanders as they boast an imposing record at Suncorp Stadium where the Blues have struggled to win in recent years. With the Blues having to battle the loss of Josh Morris due to a groin injury, Dylan Walker will have the ominous task of trying to stop Greg Inglis. Morris’ withdrawal means the exciting Jack Bird comes into the starting 17 for NSW.
GAME II STATS
One of the positive things heading into this match for the Blues is that they have won four of the last give Game IIs. On the flip side though all of those have come away from Suncorp Stadium. The last and only time NSW managed to save a series in Game II at Suncorp and force a decider was way back in 1998. They won that game 26-10 but went on to lose the series after a 19-4 defeat in Game III.
Queensland skipper Cameron Smith lit the fuse earlier this week by suggesting a few of the Blues debutants would feel the pressure of the Suncorp atmosphere at their first shot in the big time. That has to be taken into consideration here and going off that then the advantage definitely rests with the home side.
One of the worrying statistics for Queensland though is that although this generation is one of the best teams ever assembled, they struggled to score points in Game I despite having a wealth of possession early.
We are predicting this is going to be another one that goes down to the wire.
Four of the last Game IIs have been decided by 10 points or less. When you consider that two of the three matches last year between the sides were decided by an average of just 4.5 points, it shows there isn’t a great deal between them.
One thing you have to remember is that the last Origin match at Suncorp turned out to be a demolition job for the home side. With the series on the line, Queensland were rampant in a 52-6 demolition of the Blues.
THE WAY WE SEE IT
It is hard to bet against the Queenslanders ($1.57 UNIBET).
They are an experienced outfit and have been there, done that before. Is age catching up with them? Yes, but despite that they are still finding ways to win while the Blues are still trying to find the right mix for the future.
Coach Laurie Daley has definitely been a positive influence for NSW and may nearly have the right team, however, are they ready to cause an upset at Suncorp? We think they are definitely capable of winning and will give everything to make sure skipper Paul Gallen can have the opportunity to go out a winner at Origin level. That said we think Queensland will hold too many aces in what should be another epic chapter in this story.
You would be mad not to have the two leading tryscorers in Origin history as 1st Tryscorers – Greg Inglis ($12 Ladbrokes) and Darius Boyd ($15 Sportsbet) with the latter boasting a record of 10 tries from as many matches at Suncorp.
As mentioned earlier we think the 1-12 ($2.70 Luxbet) winning margin for QLD is the way to go. We definitely aren’t expecting a blowout result here.
MAN OF THE MATCH
This one is a tricky one for a number of reasons. Obviously you have to consider Johnathan Thurston ($6 Betstar) and Cameron Smith ($10 bookmaker.com.au) for the home side while Blues skipper Paul Gallen ($12 Ladbrokes) is the man you want if you favour NSW. This is his last series so he will be giving it everything he has in his last two games as captain of the side.