[VIDEO] 2014 State of Origin Game 1: preview

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    The 2014 State of Origin series kicks off on Wednesday night with the Maroons gunning for a ninth consecutive series victory. While for the Blues, they will be hoping that 2014 will see the end of eight years of heartache.

    With Queensland dominating the origin format for nearly a decade, the last two years have seen New South Wales side come agonisingly close to reclaiming the crown, losing the deciding game of 2012 by just one point and going down in last year’s finale by two points.

    Despite narrowing the margin in recent years, the talent of the Maroons side has always been too much for the Blues to overcome.

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    It gets no easier for New South Wales this year, who will enter Game 1 at Suncorp having lost their last five matches up in Brisbane, with their last win coming way back in 2009.

    The New South Wales camp has been hit hard by injuries and scandal, with the Blues naming seven new faces in their side. The Bulldogs pairing of Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds will be the new halves combination with Laurie Daley wielding the axe on the out of form James Maloney.

    Likewise, halfback partner Mitchell Pearce’s omission from the side for Game 1 sends a strong signal to other Blues players that bad behaviour won’t be tolerated this year.

    Rooster’s winger Daniel Tupou will make his debut, with Tony Williams receiving a surprise recall to the side. The suspension of Greg Bird and an injury to Boyd Cordner, will see Beau Scott and Ryan Hoffman replace them in the side.

    Jarryd Hayne has been named at his preferred fullback position with New South Wales hoping he can reproduce his stunning club form to take the pressure off the new halves combination.

    Queensland have named a virtually unchanged line-up for Game 1 with an injury to Sam Thaiday seeing Aidan Guerra named to make his Origin debut off the bench.

    A shift in the Maroons line-up to cover the injured Thaiday will see Matt Gillett promoted to the starting side. Mal Meninga has chosen to stay loyal to his Maroons side, with a number of out of form players chosen.

    As is the case in years past, these players will no doubt find an extra gear once they step out onto the Origin arena on Wednesday night

    Queensland will enter the match as favourites, and it will take an almighty effort from a new look Blues side to steal a victory up in Brisbane.

    Join The Roar for live scores and coverage of Game 1 of the 2014 State of Origin series from 8:00pm (AEST) on Wednesday.

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