Greg Inglis replaces Billy Slater at fullback. Source: Paul Miller/AAP
Queensland and New South Wales lock horns at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night, in what is being dubbed as the most important State of Origin game in history. The Maroons are bidding for an unprecedented seventh straight series win, while Ricky Stuart’s men are confident that they can break the drought after winning game two in Sydney 16-12 three weeks ago.
Billy Slater and Ashley Harrison are both out of the side that lost in Sydney due to injury, with Rabbitohs custodian Greg Inglis switching to fullback and Sam Thaiday returning from injury. Dave Taylor has been dropped to make way for Broncos backrower Ben Teo, who will be making his representative debut in the biggest game of all.
New South Wales has also made three changes to the side that was victorious in Sydney, with Akuila Uate, Glenn Stewart and Trent Merrin making way for Brett Morris, Tony Williams and Beau Scott.
– Queensland has won 50 Origin matches to NSW’s 43, while two games have ended in a draw. On fifteen occasions the series has gone to a decider, with Queensland winning nine times and NSW just four. Both of the drawn matches came in the third game of the series. When the Blues last won the series, in 2005, they triumphed 32-10 in the decider at Suncorp Stadium.
– How do you pick dangermen in a State of Origin contest? These are the best players on the planet and both sides boast a plethora of attacking weapons.
Greg Inglis became the greatest tryscorer in the history of Origin earlier in the series and is likely to be even more a threat given the freedom he will get playing fullback. While Billy Slater is a huge loss for the Maroons, Inglis is one man that can fill his boots.
Despite having his troubles at the Panthers this year, Michael Jennings has excelled for New South Wales. His last three games in the Blues jersey have produced five line breaks and he has been a constant menace for the Maroons defence.
– There has been nothing between these sides this year and we are undoubtedly in for another titanic struggle on Wednesday night. While Queensland appears to have more guile in the halves, both Jonathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk have been below par in the opening two matches of the series. With the game on the line, they need to step up. If they don’t, the Blues mobile forward pack could lay the platform for a NSW win. Draw
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