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State of Origin Game 2 Preview and Team News - New South Wales to claim 2018 State of Origin series

Andrew Hendrie 20 Jun 2018
  • New South Wales and Queensland clash in Game 2 of the 2018 State of Origin series on Sunday night
  • NSW can wrap up the series after prevailing in Game 1
NSW face QLD in Origin II on Sunday night

New South Wales attempt to secure the State of Origin shield for just the second time since 2006 when they play host to Queensland in Game 2 at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.

New South Wales came into Game 2 of the 2017 series at ANZ Stadium with a 1-0 lead but couldn’t hold on as Queensland came back to win and ultimately claim the series 2-1 with a Game 3 triumph at Suncorp - have the Blues learned from past mistakes and can they wrap up just a second Origin shield in the last 12 years?

Brad Fittler has ushered in a new era of Origin footballers to NSW this season, and his decision to blood over 10 debutants in Game 1 paid immediate dividends, with the Blues producing a dominant display to conquer Queensland by a 22-12 scoreline.

However, the score actually flattered the Maroons as NSW easily could have scored 2-3 more tries throughout the contest. The Blues made six line breaks to Queensland’s one and missed just 21 tackles to 51. Queensland’s defence was all over the place, and with a bit more cohesion (which is hard for such a new team) NSW would have put at least 30 on them.

Now the challenge for NSW is can they do it under the pressure of playing at home with an Origin series within touching distance? They couldn’t last year, buckling under the expectation as Queensland came back in the second half to emerge triumphant.

But this is completely different NSW side, and from first indications, I don’t think they are going to sweat under the pressure like last year’s team did.

Queensland meanwhile are under big pressure themselves. They’ve dominated Origin for more than a decade, winning 11 of the last 12 series and also 14 of the last 22 matches between the sides. But all of a sudden their dominance appears to be coming to an end - and if NSW can win this game on Sunday, they could embark on a dynasty of their own.

The Maroons have lost Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk to retirement - and Billy Slater will hang up the Origin boots after this series - meaning the Big Four, who have been the difference in a lot of those games and series wins, will be no more. Do the Maroons have the star-power to adequately replace them in the spine?

Kalyn Ponga, who will make his Origin debut on Sunday night, is of course one of the brightest young prospects in rugby league, but it’s the direction in the halves and at hooker where Queensland struggled in Game 1. And at least for Game 2 of this series, I don’t see them making a big enough impact to reverse their fortunes.

This is NSW’s time to secure their first series since 2014 and put together a run of their own. And it all starts on Sunday night. I’m predicting an emphatic performance from the Blues as they make a statement about what could be about to happen in the years to come.

Stats


  • Queensland have won 14 of their last 22 encounters
  • Maroons won eight of the last 13 at ANZ Stadium
  • The team that has lost Game 1 has won five of the last seven Game 2s
  • The last six Origin games have all topped 28 points

Teams


NSW have been forced into making one change from their winning Game 1 side, with Matt Prior making his Origin debut in place of the injured Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

Michael Morgan is out injured for Queensland, but they do welcome back Billy Slater at fullback, while Kalyn Ponga makes his debut off the bench. Tim Glasby is on stand-by for Dylan Napa as the Roosters enforcer battles an ankle injury.

NSW Team

1. James Tedesco, 2. Tom Trbojevic, 3. Latrell Mitchell, 4. James Roberts, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. James Maloney, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Boyd Cordner (c), 12. Tyson Frizell, 13. Jack de Belin. Interchange: Jake Trbojevic, Angus Crichton, Matt Prior, Paul Vaughan Tyrone Peachey. Reserves: Ryan James, Luke Keary, Tariq Sims.

QLD Team

1. Billy Slater, 2. Valentine Holmes, 3. Greg Inglis (c), 4. Will Chambers, 5. Dane Gagai, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Ben Hunt, 8. Jarrod Wallace, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Dylan Napa, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Felise Kaufusi, 13. Josh McGuire. Interchange: Kalyn Ponga, Josh Papalii, Coen Hess, Jai Arrow. Tim Glasby (18th man).

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State of Origin Game 2 Preview and Team News - New South Wales to claim 2018 State of Origin series

New South Wales attempt to secure the State of Origin shield for just the second time since 2006 when they play host to Queensland in Game 2 at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.

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