2017 State of Origin 3. QLD v NSW odds, preview, team news and betting tipsPosted on 06/07 by Joe Gann
2017 State of Origin Odds, News and Tips
Weekly Expert Betting Tips - Join our free mailing listQueensland’s win in Game II has set up one of the most keenly anticipated showdowns of the modern era, as the Blues take on the Maroons in a winner-takes-all clash at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.
As ever, there was intense speculation surrounding the selections of both sides, and the results were in keeping with the series so far. Controversial, argument-provoking decisions from Kevin Walters, and logical, stability from Laurie Daley who has stuck with the same squad for all three matches this year - the first time a New South Wales coach has done so for 20 years.
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The injury to Johnathan Thurston and subsequent debate surrounding his replacement has dominated the run-up for the Queensland side. It would be remiss not to emphasise what an enormous loss Thurston will be for his side; the future immortal has played in 37 of the last 38 interstate clashes, a permanent fixture in the most successful era of all time for the Maroons.
They find themselves in unchartered territory; having to overcome the sizeable problem of learning to win without the advantage of his aura pervading the occasion. Although it is a huge blow for Thurston to miss out, he bowed out of representative football fittingly, with his goal kicking central to securing the vital second game for his side. Opinion has been divided as to who should get the nod to partner Cooper Cronk in the halves, and conventional wisdom has been that Daly Cherry-Evans would be the man bestowed with the honour.
However, Walters has opted for Ben Hunt, a man who was demoted and forced to turn out for the Ipswich Jets less than a month ago, will now get his chance on the biggest stage of all - an incredible turnaround in fortune for the Brisbane playmaker. The inclusion of Cameron Munster has proved to be a popular choice though; the versatile Storm man is tipped to start in the halves alongside clubmate Cronk and form a spine forged in Melbourne in alliance with Billy Slater and Cameron Smith.
Darius Boyd is the other squad member to drop out; the Broncos skipper sustained a broken thumb that has brought a halt to his uninterrupted run of 28 Origin appearances. Other than that, it is as-you-were for the Queenslanders too, with both coaches seemingly satisfied with the performances from their charges over the course of the preceding games.
One of the biggest questions in advance of the match is whether the Blues have mentally recovered from the blow of having the series ripped from their grasp in the closing stages of the game at ANZ. That doubt will linger at the back of their minds; how they almost clinched the series but instead are faced with the challenge of doing it all again once more in the cauldron of the Suncorp. It is a situation that they have already mastered; indeed, if the Blues are to be successful, the home team would have failed to win in front of their own supporters in all three games.
Although the Blues did let the series slip through their fingers three weeks ago, as their ten-point, half-time lead vanished, the defeat is due in large part to a considerable improvement from their opponents. NSW legend Andrew Johns was scathing in his post-match analysis, describing the collapse as ‘the dumbest half of football NSW have played.’ He was also critical that the clearly injured Thurston was not targeted as the seemingly weak link in the opposition line.
No doubt he will have been impressed by James Maloney’s efforts to unsettle Billy Slater after the full-back’s return to the arena following two shoulder reconstructions. Instead, they were guilty of adopting a risk-averse, safety first approach to the second period that invited the Maroons’ comeback. They will be aware that such a regressive formula will not deliver a result this time around either.
At their best, NSW are the better of the two sides, equipped with an array of attacking firepower that the Maroons struggle to contain, but they need to produce more sustained periods of dominance.
The Maroons’ tactics were much better than in the previous game; the containment of Andrew Fifita, who had caused so much damage in Game I, was an integral element in successfully shutting down the Blues pack.
Prior to Game II, all the focus was on the return of Billy Slater, who didn’t let his side down, but it was the unheralded combination of Will Chambers and Dane Gagai which proved to be the downfall of NSW, dominating their more illustrious adversaries Jarryd Hayne and Brett Morris. Gagai must be a contender for the Wally Lewis Trophy for Man of the Series; the Newcastle man had a significant impact on Game II with a match-winning brace in Sydney to set up this momentous clash.
Despite naming an unchanged side, Daley has concerns surrounding James Tedesco and Boyd Cordner, who haven’t managed any game time since the match at ANZ. Additionally, Tyson Frizell, Josh Dugan and 18th man Jack De Belin are not certainties to be fit in time either, with Trent Merrin and Dale Finucane name-checked by the coach as possible replacements.
However, he will give his players every chance to prove their fitness at their training camp in Kingscliff before naming his side.
The third game is perfectly balanced, with issues on both sides generating an atmosphere of uncertainty. The Blues have extra motivation courtesy of their disappointing showing in the second half of Game II, whereas the Maroons have been given a lifeline after appearing to be down and out with only minutes remaining.
The Queensland side has a wealth of experience at this level and can count on seasoned performers who have seen it all before; crucially they possess the patience, tenacity and big game know-how which are all vital commodities in the pressure cooker of Origin.
Prediction: Queensland to exploit their home advantage and claim an unlikely series triumph.
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