Here we are now, the final act of the 2016 State Of Origin series. The title went north to Brisbane after the men in maroon won a hard fought battle in QLD last time out. Do the Queenslanders take the foot off the pedal, or do they go for the three-blot scoreline and ruin the likely farewells of Gallen and Farah?
NSW have plenty to play for here, coach Laurie Daley has rung in some changes as almost every single New South Welshman was calling for Tedesco to get a start. Many thought that idea had gone the same way as the dishlickers. Not to be. Tedesco is in, Graham is in, and NSW will want to capitalise on glimpses of outstanding play in both earlier games.
The thing is – NSW go into this game with a load of pressure on their shoulders. Their fans demand it, a baying press demand it. QLD don’t have the same issues and as a result I have to tip them here at good odds ($2.08 UNIBET). Whichever way you look at it, QLD pack so much firepower across the park and the fact they have won the series already means they will play relaxed. They have had a great preparation for this game and whilst the Blues will give them some stick, the pressure will tell. QLD will by no means smash the locals, so let’s go for the QLD 1-12 ($3.10 Bet365) for some added value.
How hard were my loyal fans cheering in State Of Origin 2 when Gagai took off down the field at 0-0? Anyone else help themselves to 15-1 as I tipped First Try Scorer? I nearly had a heart attack when Frizzell dived and got him, but momentum is a wonderful thing and the 15-1 was landed as he slid across the paint. We love Gagai and there is no reason to abandon him, so let’s stick with our man Gagai ($12 Bet365) to be First Try Scorer – again! Go Daney boy.
State Of Origin is the bastion of champions. All the great players in the past 34 years have donned either strip and some will go down in Rugby League immortality. One player likely to join that group when he is gone from the game is Johnathan Thurston. What a player. What a leader. So Queensland. I expect him to finish this series with a bang, so I am going to have a little double punt on him in this game. I am going to back him to be Anytime Tryscorer ($5.50 Sportsbet) as I think he will be loving the spaces and the fact the pressure is off, but I am also going to take him to be Man-Of-The-Match ($8 William Hill). Cream rises to the top and this bloke is the goods. This is the kind of game he will control, and I expect this year’s series to finish with QLD winning 3-0, and this champion tacking out the honours in the final game.