With the series over you can expect plenty of fireworks for State Of Origin Game III at ANZ Stadium.
The Maroons have captured their 10th series in 11 years and although this one is essentially a dead-rubber both teams still have something to play for. In their case it’s the prospect of their fifth series clean sweep while sending veteran Corey Parker out of the Origin arena on a winning note. For New South Wales it’s the motivation of stopping an embarrassing whitewash when two of those matches were on home soil. It will also be captain Paul Gallen’s last Origin and his teammates will definitely be out to give him the perfect send off.
Blues coach Laurie Daley has gone back on his vaunted ‘pick and stick’ method that has defined his time at the helm. Out of the side go veteran Greg Bird and Dylan Walker to be replaced by Wade Graham and Josh Dugan respectively.
Arguably the most intriguing newcomer to the squad will be debutant James Tedesco, who takes over fullback duties from Matt Moylan. The calls for the Tigers custodian to take up the ‘number one’ position have finally been heard by Lozza but will he be up to the challenge of Origin?
Another exciting youngster, Jack Bird, will start off the bench as he did in Game II but expect him to see more time here than he did previously. As for the Queenslanders there is only one addition to the team that won secured the series at Suncorp and that’s Gavin Cooper coming in for Michael Morgan who is out injured.
SAME OLD STORY?
For a team that had so much optimism heading into this series the Blues find themselves on the receiving end of another defeat, however, depending on how you look at it things could have been quite different heading into this one.
It’s often said that crucial moments play a huge part in determining the outcome of Origin encounters and 2016 has been no different. In the series opener, Josh Morris’ ‘Try’ by the on-field referee was overruled by the bunker even though they didn’t have clear evidence that he didn’t put the ball down.
Game II saw a courageous fightback by the Blues fall short but again, if Michael Jennings doesn’t touch the ball when attempting to ground it then Tyson Frizell scores. Instead, replays showed he did get a finger to the ball and subsequently knocked it on.
And what has become a familiar situation will once again rear its ugly head, although through not fault of their own, with the Blues trialling another halves pairing in James Maloney and Matt Moylan. The latter is replacing Adam Reynolds who is out injured.
HOW IT WILL PAN OUT
You would have to be a brave punter to think the Blues won’t come out all guns blazing here. They’ve gone for a mix of youth and excitement coupled with experience in order to try and restore pride in the jumper.
With the inclusion of Tedesco it isn’t surprising to see him well supported in 1st Tryscorer markets as well as Man of the Match honours. He is a natural runner and ballplayer and will add another dimension to a Blues attack that has often struggled for points against the Maroons.
The Queenslanders will take an ‘as you were’ approach to this one and you can expect to see plenty of point scoring opportunities come their way. Strangely, the leading Origin tryscorer in history Greg Inglis and number two on that list, Darius Boyd, didn’t get on the score sheet in games one and two.
You would have to think their luck has to turn at some point and for that reason we are going with a Blues WIN ($1.90 Sportsbet).
The inclusions of Tedesco, Graham and the retention of Jack Bird shows that Loz believes these guys could be the ‘x-factor’ that NSW need to break the Queensland defence.
If you like playing the TOTAL POINTS OVER/UNDER option then we are recommending taking the Overs ($1.90 William Hill). With the series over we think both sides will open up the shoulders a bit and play an exciting brand of footy.
One of the more popular bet types in Origin is 1st TRYSCORER and one of the safer options here is Dane Gagai ($12 Bet365) – the Maroons flyer has four tries in this series so far. If you think the Blues will cross first then definitely have something on James Tedesco $12 LuxBet).
Finally, we think there could be some value when it comes to MAN OF THE MATCH honours. Should the Blues get the money then there is a big chance that Tyson Frizell ($26 UNIBET) could be MOTM. His debut in Game II was highlighted by a moment that will go down in Origin folklore as he chased down Gagai for the best part of 80 metres and felled him inches out from the line. Alas it was to no avail as he went on to score anyway but it’s that determination that Phil Gould famously declared "makes Origin players".