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State of Origin Game 1 Preview and Team News - New South Wales to take 1-0 series lead over Queensland at MCG

Andrew Hendrie 30 May 2018
  • Queensland and New South Wales clash in State of Origin Game 1 on June 6 at the MCG
  • Both states have named new-look teams
Queensland face NSW on June 6 at the MCG

Both New South Wales and Queensland will field fresh and new-look sides for an unpredictable State of Origin Game 1 clash at the MCG on June 6.

With the Maroons taking home the State of Origin shield in 11 of the last 12 years, including the last three straight, new Blues coach Brad Fittler had to do something different in order to change the result.

And he’s certainly delivered in that regard, naming a record 11 debutants in the NSW side for the opening Origin encounter in Melbourne, including Jack De Belin, Tom Trbojevic, Josh Addo-Carr, James Roberts, Latrell Mitchell, Nathan Cleary, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Damien Cook, Tyrone Peachey, Paul Vaughan and Angus Crichton, while several experienced mainstays such as Aaron Woods, Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson, Wade Graham and Josh Jackson were overlooked.

All of those debutants are in superb form for their club sides and add some excitement to a Blues squad that didn’t have much creativity or pace in them over the last decade or so.

James Roberts and Latrell Mitchell are two of the quickest and most dynamic players in the game, and in attack they have the potential to rip apart the Maroons defence, but they will have to be on alert in defence - an area of the game they have both struggled in, with Australian pairing Greg Inglis and Will Chambers set to make them pay if they don’t aim up.

Paul Vaughan and Jack de Belin should have been picked last season, while Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Tyrone Peachey, Angus Crichton, Jake Trbojevic and Damien Cook have all been in excellent form for their respective clubs and provide a nice balance in a forward pack with the experienced David Klemmer, Tyson Frizell and Boyd Cordner.

Josh Addo-Carr and Tom Trjbojevic is an electric wing combination, while Nathan Cleary is a potential 10-year halfback in the making - and he has the perfect man to help him settle in the halves alongside James Maloney.

Meanwhile, while Queensland have only named three fresh faces in their side for Game 1 - Andrew McCullough, Jai Arrow and Felise Kaufusi - their team is arguably looking the more decimated due to the absence of the ‘Big 3’ of Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.

Smith announced his shock retirement from Origin football a couple of weeks ago, while Thurston and Cronk both revealed 2017 would be their final series last year.

For so long, those players - along with Billy Slater - have been the difference between a win and a loss for Queensland, and depending on who you talk to, they may have single-handedly delivered the bulk of those 11 series wins for the Maroons.

With their spine now consisting of Slater, Cameron Munster, Ben Hunt and McCullough, all of a sudden the Queensland team isn’t looking so fearsome - although they are all obviously still very good players. Add in the fact that Kevin Walters has picked three out-of-form Cowboys players in Michael Morgan, Coen Hess and Gavin Cooper, and Queensland certainly aren’t looking like a team who has only lost one Origin series since 2006.

New South Wales have been so close in the last two years, especially in 2017 when they won the first game 28-4 at Suncorp and were leading for the bulk of Game 2 only to fall 18-16 at ANZ Stadium. Surely now, with Smith, Thurston and Cronk gone, this is their time to shine? The Blues won the last Origin game played in Melbourne in 2015 - and with an exciting and energetic new team, I think they can blow Queensland off the park in Game 1 once again.


  • Queensland have won 11 of the last 12 Origin series
  • NSW won Game 1 last season by 24 points
  • The Blues won 26-18 in the last Origin game played at the MCG in 2015


Queensland team: 1. Billy Slater 2. Valentine Holmes 3. Greg Inglis (capt) 4. Will Chambers 5. Dane Gagai 6. Cameron Munster 7. Ben Hunt 8. Dylan Napa 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Felise Kaufusi 13. Josh McGuire Interchange: 14. Michael Morgan 15. Josh Papalii 16. Coen Hess 17. Jai Arrow

New South Wales team: 1. James Tedesco, 2. Josh Addo-Carr, 3. Latrell Mitchell, 4. James Roberts, 5. Tom Trbojevic, 6. James Maloney, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11. Boyd Cordner, 12. Tyson Frizell, 13. Jack de Belin. Interchange: 14. Paul Vaughan, 15. Jake Trbojevic, 16. Angus Crichton, 17. Tyrone Peachey. Reserves: 18. Tariq Sims, 19. Nick Cotric



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State of Origin Game 1 Preview and Team News - New South Wales to take 1-0 series lead over Queensland at MCG

Both New South Wales and Queensland will field fresh and new-look sides for an unpredictable State of Origin Game 1 clash at the MCG on June 6.

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