Maroons Ready To Rumble

Picture: Gregg Porteous/dailytelegraph.com.au
Greg Inglis was quiet in the series opener. Picture: Gregg Porteous/dailytelegraph.com.au
Queensland  and New South Wales  meet in State of Origin game two on Wednesday night, with the home side finding itself in the unfamiliar situation of having to fight to keep the series alive. The Maroons were convincing outplayed at ANZ Stadium three weeks ago and will need to be switched on from the start if they are to maintain their push for an unprecedented eighth straight series victory. The Blues have taken a 1-0 advantage to Brisbane on seven previous occasions for just one win and were beaten 30-0 at ‘the Cauldron’ when the scenario was last played out in 2008.

David Shillington and Ashley Harrison have been dumped from that Queensland team that was humbled 14-6 in the series opener at ANZ Stadium, with Daly Cherry-Evans and Josh Papali drafted into the squad on the bench, from where they will make their debut. Corey Parker will start at lock and Nate Myles in the front row, with Chris McQueen partnering Sam Thaiday in the second row.

The Blues preparations have been thrown into turmoil with James Tamou and then Blake Ferguson stood down after being charged by police for separate alcohol related incidents. West Tigers prop Aaron Woods and Rabbitohs flyer Nathan Merritt have been selected by coach Laurie Daley to replace them in the starting side. Jarryd Hayne started for New South Wales in Sydney but has been ruled out of this match with a hamstring strain, giving controversial Dragon Josh Dugan another chance on the biggest stage. Bulldogs utility will hope to get some playing time off the bench after being an unused substitute in game one.

1st Tryscorer

Darius Boyd  may play fullback for the Knights, but he has been a revelation for the Maroons since making his debut on the wing in 2008. The 25 year-old has a tremendous record of 10 tries from just 15 State of Origin matches and was the only Queensland player to get across the line in Sydney earlier this month.

Michael Jennings  has had a new lease of life at the Roosters this year and brought his strong club form to the rep stage in game one, effecting seven tackle breaks and bagging one of his side’s two tries. His duel with Queensland’s centre pairing of Justin Hodges and Greg Inglis.

Prediction

Queensland lacked intensity in the series opener and coach Mal Meninga has tried to counter that by bringing Corey Parker and Chris McQueen into his starting side. They both brought plenty of energy from the bench in game one and Parker in particular will look to create second phase play for his backs, who failed to make an impact in Sydney. The Maroons will take some solace from the fact that they only lost by eight points at ANZ Stadium and can hardly play any worse. No current members of the New South Wales squad have won an Origin match at Suncorp Stadium that wasn’t a dead rubber and that record looks set to continue. Queensland by 14

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