A RESUMPTION OF THE MAROONS DYNASTY OR THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA OF BLUE DOMINANCE?
THREE REASONS WHY NSW WILL WIN ORIGIN III
GRUNT UP FRONT
The Blues’ forwards have dominated their Queensland counterparts in the first two games and there is no reason why that will change for game three. Aaron Woods has announced himself as the game’s premier prop and David Klemmer as a dominant Origin figure for years to come. The Maroons have had no answer to the Blues young firebrands and they have looked old and tired in comparison.
Blues skipper Paul Gallen is right, the Blues have all the momentum heading into the series decider. Apart from some questionable refereeing they should have wrapped up game two sooner and it was only their poor execution at the end of game one that cost them a win there. The performances of halves Trent Hodkinson and Mitchell Pearce have been underrated in the series so far and if they can keep their cool guiding the Blues to a series win would rank high among their career highlights.
NSW are supremely confident their defence can handle everything the Maroons throw at them. The Blues produced one of the great Origin defensive efforts in game one in Brisbane last year to set up their series win. They again defended wave after wave of Queensland offense in game one this year and should have turned that into a win. With an even share of possession in game two they brushed the Maroons aside and are hopeful of doing the same in this year’s decider
THREE REASONS NSW CAN’T WIN ORIGIN III
The Blues beat Queensland in game one last year when Cronk went off injured with the Maroons in front, and in game two when he was sidelined with that broken arm. The talismanic Melbourne halfback scored a try and kicked the match-winning field goal in Origin one this year, but the Blues managed a win in game two without him at the MCG due to a knee injury. With Cronk leading them around the park Queensland are almost unbeatable.
In one of the biggest Origin matches of all time, the Queensland crowd will be right behind the Maroons and that influence can extend to the referee. The Blues have won just one penalty count in the last 11 games in Brisbane. Gallen doesn’t want his side to be intimidated by the atmosphere. But if the Maroons get away early, the crowd could keep them there. How young Blues like David Klemmer handle the atmosphere will also be crucial.
On the game’s greatest stage it is always its greatest players that stand up and be counted and Inglis’ move to fullback in place of the injured Billy Slater could be a game changer. Inglis was quiet in game one after battling illness in the lead-up but exploded back to his best in game two but couldn’t get Queensland across the line. Inglis’ return from centre to fullback, in the spot he has made his own with South Sydney in the NRL, could swing the match the Maroons’ way.