The 2019 State of Origin series will be won and lost on Wednesday when New South Wales take on Queensland for all the marbles out in Sydney. The Blues will be looking to retain the shield while the Maroons will be looking to win it back so we are set for a wonderful occasion.
The Blues have the momentum if such a thing exists, after they levelled the series in Perth last time out and they are the favourites to go on and claim the shield once again. Queensland don’t have a lot to lose though and could be dangerous.
New South Wales Blues
When you think they were under real pressure having lost the first game, the performance that New South Wales put in during Game 2 to level the series was really good and their task now is to repeat that as they chase successive series victories. They probably should have had the shield wrapped up by now given that they were so dominant in the first half of the opener but they can forget about that now and concentrate on winning on their own patch.
We’ve said throughout the series that the pace and elusiveness of the Blues backs is going to be a real feature of things and it has been. I don’t think the New South Wales forwards have been as strong as expected so far but that might be a good thing. It gives Brad Fittler something to use to wind up his charges and get an even better display from them.
Having had the series in the palm of their hands after winning the opening game, it all went wrong for the Queensland Maroons in the second match and they will need all their powers of fight in order to come back and get their hands on the shield from here. If there is a positive from the second game it was that at no stage were they at the races so it wasn’t like they were hard done by. They need to put that completely behind them and find their best form.
Queensland have actually had the better kicking game in the first two matches so the fact they had next to nothing to show for it in the previous tussle has to be a serious concern. Another worry has to be out little their output have been in the three-quarters and that area of their team is really going to have to step up to the plate if they are going to come out on top in this match.
New South Wales have been forced into a couple of changes with David Klemmer replacing the suspended Tariq Sims while Nathan Cleary has been ruled out too. He will be replaced by Mitchell Pearce who has a point to prove.
Queensland Maroons have been forced into a change at full-back where Cameron Munster will fill in for Kalyn Ponga who has been ruled out with injury. That leaves Corey Norman who make his debut in the halves. Christian Welch and Joe Ofahengaue come back into the side too.
I’ve been keen on the New South Wales Blues throughout the series and I’m not going against them now that they are finally on home soil. I wouldn’t expect the 30+ point drubbing they put up in Perth, purely because everything is on the line here, but I do think the Blues will win and they will have a little more than a converted try in hand when they do.
But for a poor second 40 minutes in the opening game of the series the Blues would have the series wrapped up by now. I think the Ponga injury could be massive here as if I was Queensland I would want Cameron Munster in the halves where he has shone so far. Mitchell Pearce has a point to prove and he, along with James Tedesco can lead the Blues to a decent win.
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