A whitewash or an air of respectability is at stake on Wednesday when the Queensland Maroons and New South Wales Blues meet for the third and final time in the 2018 State of Origin Series in Brisbane.
The Blues wrapped up the series in fine style in the second match of the series and now go in search of a fourth whitewash in Origin history and their first since 2000. Queensland will be looking to find something that they can take forward to 2019.
It was always going to be a difficult series for the Maroons when you factor in the level of talent that retired from representative footy at the end of the 2017 showdowns but even then they may be disappointed with their performances this term. They were very shackled in the first match where the scoreline severely flattered them and not a great deal better in the second contest.
We are likely to find out a lot more about what the future holds for Queensland in this contest. They are going to be able to play with a freedom and without pressure so it is imperative that they put on a good performance to give the Blues something to think about ahead of the 2019 series. Failure to do that could just see the beginning of a Blues domination.
New South Wales Blues
The Blues already have the shield back in their grasp and now they have the chance to begin a legacy which could last for a while. If they can win this match and claim a historic whitewash it will really confirm their dominance over Queensland and give them some positivity and confidence to take into next year.
New South Wales have controlled the series so far and probably been better than the two margins of victory have shown. They now have to play with the same intensity that they have played with so far. That sounds easy but when the main goal has been achieved sometimes it can be hard to get up for battle again.
Queensland are ringing the changes with an eye to finding combinations for the future. That means Greg Inglis misses out while Ben Hunt and Jarrod Wallace head back down to the bench. Daly Cherry-Evans gets another chance to impress in the half-back role.
New South Wales will make one change for this match with Paul Vaughan being elevated to start the match and Tariq Sims coming off the bench. Matt Prior is the man to make way in otherwise unchanged squad.
They might be the away team but I’m with the New South Wales Blues in this one. I think the only reason why Queensland have remained as close as they have done in the two matches so far has been the desperation for NSW to win which has shackled them in the closing stages.
They have no pressure on their shoulders anymore though and that is a big thing for them. They have been clearly the better side in this series and I don’t see how or why that is going to change now unless they take their foot off the gas. I just don’t see that happening with a slice of history in front of them so I’m on the Blues to cover a couple of points here.
Back New South Wales (-2) to beat Queensland for a 4/10 stake at 1.85 with 888sport