MATCH-UPS WHICH COULD DECIDE ORIGIN III
* GREG INGLIS v JOSH DUGAN
Inglis and Dugan are unlikely to come across each other often in the course of the 80 minutes at Suncorp Stadium but the impact they have upon the contest will be crucial. Inglis returns to his favoured position of fullback where he has been devastating in the NRL, while Dugan has been one of NSW’s best in the series thus far. Both No.1s are devastating returners of the Steeden and capable of exploiting any weakness in the opposition’s kick-chase. Inglis could bob up anywhere in attack for the Maroons, something Dugan excels at also.
* NSW’S LEFT EDGE v QUEENSLAND’S RIGHT EDGE
Ryan Hoffman turned Daly Cherry-Evans into a speedbump at the MCG, as the NSW back-rower paved the way for Michael Jennings to tear the Queensland defence to shreds. Returning to the Maroons side in place of DCE at halfback, Cooper Cronk has said such lapses won’t happen again. Either way whoever dominates on that side is likely to run away with the contest and the Origin series. Justin Hodges ran riot there in game one, but Jennings made him look old and slow in game two. In his final Origin game Hodges has plenty of motivation but will that be enough?
* AARON WOODS and JAMES TAMOU v MATT SCOTT and NATE MYLES
NSW have dominated up front in both games so far, especially early. That is something Scott and Myles will have to prevent to stop the Blues securing back-to-back series for the first time since 2005. Woods has been almost impossible to contain and Tamou’s work in the softening up period early has been crucial. Scott went into game two under something of an injury cloud and will be keen to hit back after managing just six runs for 51m, while Woods barrelled upfield for 153m from 17 carries with Tamou also notching over 100m. The younger Blues have looked a step ahead of their older counterparts but that could all change at Suncorp Stadium.
* CAMERON SMITH v ???
Smith remains the Maroons most important player. His craft was there for all to see in game one but the Blues effectively contained that in game two. Robbie Farah has provided an effective counter to Smith for NSW in and around the ruck. But Michael Ennis, Farah’s likely replacement if the Wests Tigers captain is ruled out of the decider with a hand injury, has had an unhappy time at Origin level against Smith. Farah’s loss would be a huge blow to NSW and would leave Ennis with an almost impossible task to perform.