New South Wales v Queensland Sunday, June 24, 7.40pm ANZ Stadium, Sydney
New South Wales will be presented with the opportunity to win just their second State Of Origin series since 2006 when they host Queensland at ANZ Stadium in Game 2 of the series. NSW have made one forced change to the side, with Reagan Campbell-Gillard (broken jaw) replaced by Sharks prop Matt Prior, who will be making his Origin debut. Queensland’s attack looked pedestrian in Game 1, and they had no choice but to select exciting youngster Kalyn Ponga, who will offer plenty of impact off the bench and is Queensland’s No.1 in waiting, with this being Billy Slater’s final series. Slater will return from injury, replacing the injured Michael Morgan at fullback. Roosters enforcer Dylan Napa is battling the clock to be fit as he deals with an ankle injury, with Tim Glasby on standby.
Recent FormQueensland have won 11 of the previous 12 series but NSW kicked off a new era in Melbourne with a dominant 22-12 victory. NSW made six line breaks to Queensland’s one, missed only 21 tackles to Queensland’s 51 and completed 90% of sets to the Maroons’ 80% in a one-sided win that finished closer on the scoreboard than in reality. Queensland have now won 60 of the 112 Origins played with the Blues celebrating their 50th win in Melbourne. Queensland have won 23 series to NSW’s 13. NSW have now scored 16 or more in five of the last six Origins. NSW have seven players from Top 4 teams and 13 players from Top 8 teams with just three players from bottom four sides. Queensland have just three players from Top 4 teams but 11 from Top 8 sides while they have three players from bottom four teams.
Key MatchupNSW forward pack v Queensland forward pack. It seems like a pretty simple formula, but the winner of the forward battle will go a long way to winning Origin Game 2. The Maroons will be looking to replicate the game plan from last year’s Game 2 where they nullified Andrew Fifita after he tore the Maroons to shreds in Game 1 at Suncorp Stadium. It’s clear that Queensland went into Game 1 with a defensive mindset, with the likes of Felise Kaufusi and Gavin Cooper playing 80 minutes, when strike edge players like Coen Hess and Josh Papalii could have offered more impact with increased minutes. One player who has received plenty of criticism is Jarrod Wallace, who only had five runs for 52 metres in his 35-minute stint. The Wolf believes Papalii should start, and Hess needs to play more minutes. The Blues rotated their forwards perfectly in Game 1 and it proved a winning move by coach Brad Fittler.
Stats That Matter
– Queensland have won 14 of the last 22 matches. – The Maroons have won 8 of the last 13 matches played at ANZ Stadium. – The underdog has covered 6 of the last 9 live Origin games. – The road team has won seven of the last 13 Origins. – The team that lost the series opener has won five of seven game twos. – The last six Origins and 8 of the last 9 have all topped 28 points. – None of the last nine games at ANZ have topped 34 points with five failing to break 22 points. – There have been only three field goals kicked in the last 28 Origins. – Queensland have just two players who have won an Origin Man of the Match award while NSW have one. – Wingers scored 7 of Queensland’s 8 tries in 2017 and both in the 2018 series opener. – Forwards scored just 2 of the 23 tries since the start of last series. – If the line remains at 8 points, it will be the biggest line for an Origin match this century.
Final ThoughtsThe Wolf felt that NSW always had Game 1 in control despite trailing by 12-8 at one stage during the contest. They looked to have more points in them than Queensland, and the Maroons attack offered little, with one try off an intercept and the other off a kick. The selection of Ponga and the return of Slater will help Queensland’s ability to score points, but the Blues have strike all over the park and will be able to use their outside men to their advantage, with Queensland sure to focus on slowing down the ruck and keeping Blues hooker Damien Cook quiet after he tore them apart in Game 1. NSW to wrap up the series with a win by 1-12 points.
How It Shapes UpNew South Wales by 7
Recommended Bets Best: New South Wales 1-12 ($2.80) Value: New South Wales 21-30 points/Queensland 11-20 points ($5.25) First Try: Tom Trbojevic ($10) Man of the Match: Tyson Frizell ($15.00)