New South Wales v Queensland
Wednesday, July 13, 8pm (AEST), ANZ Stadium, Sydney
|Best Bet: New South Wales ($1.84)
Other: Over 36.5 ($1.90)
Value: New South Wales 1-12 ($2.80)
The State of Origin series for 2016 is already decided with Queensland claiming their 10th series in 11 years with a dominant Game 2 victory at Suncorp but the third game must still be played and will be used as a propellant for 2017 for the Blues and an attempt at further humiliation by the Maroons. While interest may have dwindled just a touch in the lead-up, Origin is Origin and the ferocity will again be fierce and the intensity high when the two teams take the paddock.
New South Wales coach Laurie Daley has finally handed James Tedesco his long-deserved Origin debut, replacing Matt Moylan, while Wade Graham comes into the team for the dumped Greg Bird. Josh Dugan returns in the centres in a puzzling replacement for Josh Morris. Halfback Adam Reynolds was withdrawn on Wednesday after selection with Jack Bird likely to start in the halves with Moylan to be recalled on the bench. Queensland have been forced into two changes with bench players Michael Morgan and Josh Papalii out injured. Nate Myles returns from injury while Gavin Cooper becomes the oldest Origin debutant in 11 seasons.
Queensland have won 58 Origins with New South Wales claiming 47 and three matches drawn. The Maroons have won 19 series to 12 and hold a 1794-1638 points advantage. NSW have used 263 players all-time compared to 183 for the Maroons. This will be the 25th Origin played at ANZwith the Blues winning 15 to the Maroons’ eight with one draw. Since 2008 the Maroons have won 7 of the 11 matches played at ANZ. The Maroons have won 3 of the last 4 at ANZ including the season opener this year. None of the last five matches at ANZ have topped 22 points while none of the last seven have topped 28. Greg Inglis and Darius Boyd are the two greatest tryscorers in Origin history with 17 and 16 respectively.
The Maroons are the form team and have been for the last decade. They have won 10 of the last 11 series – and they won the series opener at ANZ this year 6-4. Over the last six years the Maroons have won 12 of the 17 matches. The Maroons have scored 30-plus in 2 of their last 6 while the Blues have not posted 30 points since the final game of the 2005 series. In terms of club form, Queensland have five players in the Top 20 of the Dally M Medal count – Cronk, Smith, Thurston, Inglis and Boyd – with Cronk and Smith equal leaders while the Blues have just Andrew Fifita coming off the bench and James Tedesco. Queensland have six players from Top 4 clubs with just threee from bottom four teams. NSW have seven players from Top 4 teams while one player has been plucked from bottom four clubs.
James Tedesco v Darius Boyd. Finally, after missing out on selection in 2015 and missing out on selection in Game 2, the best player available to the Blues was named for Origin III. Tedesco has had an outstanding year with 11 tries and 11 assists in just 13 games this year to go with 136m a match. He is a brilliant player. He will come up against Darius Boyd, arguably Queensland’s best player this series. He has controlled things with aplomb from the back, deserving of man of the match honours in Game 1. Expect another classy showing.
Stats That Matter
Since 2006, Queensland have had an opportunity to sweep three times, succeeding only in 2010 after failing in 2007 and 2009. That Maroons sweep was completed on NSW turf. Since 1980, there have been 16 opportunities for a sweep but just seven completed including just 1 of the last 5. The last three and five of the six dead rubber games since 2000 have topped 40 points. NSW have won three of the last four latter-series matches at ANZ. New South Wales have averaged just 10.7 points a match under Laurie Daley. That average falls to just 8.8 points per game at ANZ with the Blues not topping 14 at the ground. The last six matches under Cummins and Sutton have seen the home team win the penalty count. The Maroons have six players with more than 20 games experience while the Blues have just one. Both teams have two players with multiple Man of the Match awards: Queensland have Thurston with five and Smith with six while NSW have Gallen with two. There have been just three field goals kicked in the last 23 Origin matches. The Maroons spine has has a combined 116 games, 47 try assists and 29 tries compared to 23 games and four assists for the Blues with a single try. The Maroons have four players in the Top 20 tryscorers this year while the Blues have two. Since 2008 13 of the 17 later-series matches have been decided by a margin of 6 or greater.
New South Wales go in surprising favourites in the dead-rubber third game and it is exactly that reason – the series being long gone – that the Blues are the bet here. The addition of James Tedesco is an immense inclusion and while some other selection calls were dubious at best and utterly stupid at worst, the fact the series is over favours New South Wales. There are also reasons to play against Queensland here with their record in dead rubbers, two key injuries and the drop in form of the many Broncos in the side. The loss of Adam Reynolds is a slight worry for Blues backers but the Maroons have usually taken their foot off the pedal in this game and with Tedesco in and sure to have a monster game, New South Wales look the bet.
How It’s Shaping Up
New South Wales by 4
New South Wales ($1.84)
New South Wales 1-12 ($2.80)
Best First/Last Tryscorer
James Tedesco ($10.00)
Other Recommended Bets
Over 36.5 ($1.90)