New South Wales and Queensland square off for the 2019 State of Origin shield in what promises to be a classic in Sydney.
The Maroons came from behind to win Game 1 in Brisbane and had the chance to seal the series in Perth in Game 2, only for reigning champions the Blues to dish out a comprehensive victory.
Now it all boils to a decider in Sydney on Wednesday night.
Queensland threatened to cause a boilover after coming back to win the opening game in Brisbane, but they failed to show up in Perth for Game 2, with NSW registering a thumping 38-6 victory to take all the momentum into the decider.
Both sides are dealing with injuries to their key players, with Queensland losing Kalyn Ponga and NSW missing Nathan Cleary and Tariq Sims.
It means Mitchell Pearce – the near decade-long scapegoat for NSW during the Maroons’ dominant era – will get one final chance to become an Origin hero, with the Knights halfback slotting into the No. 7 jersey in place of Keary, while his Newcastle teammate David Klemmer returns to the Origin arena for the suspended Sims.
Corey Norman will make his Origin debut for Queensland in the halves alongside Daly Cherry-Evans, pushing Cameron Munster back to fullback to cover for Ponga.
New South Wales are the strong favourites to make it back-to-back series wins for the first time since 2004-05, but they can’t afford to get complacent.
The Blues really should have won Game 1 comfortably, but they took their foot off the pedal and Queensland managed to fight their way back into the contest and won on the back of an intercept try.
However, on neutral territory in Perth, we saw the gulf in class between the teams when NSW maintained their intensity. If the Blues can get off to an early lead, I suspect we could see another big win for Brad Fittler’s side and the shield remaining in NSW.
- New South Wales aiming for first back-to-back series wins since 2004-05
- Queensland have won the last two Game 3s
- Queensland haven’t won a Game 3 in Sydney since 2013
Tom Trbojevic – Anytime Goalscorer ($2.40 $2.20 TopBetta)