Queensland head into Wednesday’s State of Origin opener with far superior firepower and with questions dangling about NSW’s ability to put points on the board.
NSW go into Game I at ANZ Stadium with the Origin shield in the trophy cabinet however statistics show the Maroons boast a far better attacking arsenal, especially in the absence of Jarryd Hayne.
According to Fox Sports Stats, the Blues backline has just eight Origin try assists to their credit from their cumulative 47 games.
The Queensland backline, which features many who have been touted as future Immortals including Greg Inglis, Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston, boasts a lethal strike rate.
While the Maroons’ outside men have played nearly three times more Origin games (135 to 47), they have set up 46 tries at interstate level – six times more than their Blues rivals.
Thurston alone has set up more than three times more tries than the entire Blues backline during his Origin career having put his teammates over on 25 occasions.
His Blues opposite number Mitchell Pearce has been one of the competition’s best halves at club level this year, he goes into the game unproven at representative level with four try assists from 12 games.
The Blues won last year’s series, however they scored just four tries and across all three games and were defeated by a cumulative points total of 44-26.
Half of NSW’s tries last year were set up or scored by former fullback Hayne, who is in America pursuing an NFL career.
While the Queenslanders have Inglis and Darius Boyd, who share the record for the highest number of Origin tries with 15, Hayne’s absence leaves a hole in the Blues line up.
Hayne’s departure to the US will heap pressure on his NSW No.1 successor Josh Dugan, who has been touted as a match-winner by those on both sides of the Origin fence.
Inglis described the St George Illawarra fullback as the Blues’ biggest danger while former NSW coach Phil Gould said Origin I was his time to stand up.
“(Dugan) has been a little bit quiet which is good for Duges, he know he’s got a big job at hand and he’s got that confidence as well,” Dugan’s NSW and Dragons teammate Trent Merrin said.
“He’s tapering for Wednesday night.”
GIVING THE ASSIST
Statistics for State of Origin try assists for the NSW and Queensland backlines for Game I
* Johnthan Thurston – 25
* Cooper Cronk 7
* Greg Inglis – 6
* Mitchell Pearce – 4
* Justin Hodges – 3
* Billy Slater – 3
* Darius Boyd – 2
* Josh Morris – 2
* Josh Dugan – 1
* Trent Hodkinson – 1
* Will Hopoate – 0
* Daniel Tupou – 0
* Michael Jennings – 0
* Will Chambers – 0