State of Origin 2017 expert tips and predictions: NSW Blues vs Queensland Maroons – Game 2

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    It’s time: Game 2 of the 2017 State of Origin series between the NSW Blues and Queensland Maroons, and we’ve got you covered for all your expert tips and predictions.

    It’s 2005 all over again. Allow me to set the picture – Andrew Johns misses Game 1 with injury, which the Blues lose. He then comes back and lifts the Blues to their third straight series. Sound familiar, Mr Thurston?

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    The Roar‘s NRL expert tipping panel are here to tell you whether that’s going to happen this time. Will Queensland bounce back to win their millionth – sorry, eleventh series in twelve years? Or will the Blues keep the ship steady and win at home?

    After their 28-4 victory in Game 1, the Blues have stuck solid with the 17 that got the job done away from home, making no changes for a potential series-clinching match at home.

    Mitchell Pearce is coming off his best ever Origin game, James Tedesco was solid and Nathan Peats impressed on debut, while the forwards were dominant all game long.

    The Maroons, on the other hand, so long known for their stick and pick loyalty, have made sweeping changes. Seven of them, in fact.

    Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston are back, at the expense of Corey Oates and Justin O’Neill, while the forward most were calling out for before Game 1, Jarrod Wallace, has also been included.

    Gavin Cooper is back into the second row, while Coen Hess and the shock selection of Tim Glasby will round out the bench.

    Making way are the injured Nate Myles, as well as Sam Thaiday, Aidan Guerra and Jacob Lillyman.

    Don’t forget that on the form below, you can put your own tips in on behalf of The Crowd. We will have the results at 6pm (AEST) on Wednesday, so be sure to have them in before then. Who knows, The Crowd might prove themselves to be better than the experts.

    Tim Gore

    Tip: Maroons by 8

    Queensland. The old boys in Maroon would like nothing more than to claim one more series victory. After the humiliation of Game 1, they will be primed and focussed on the job at hand.

    While they’ll be right up against it with the Blues not being forced into any changes, I believe they now have the strike power to take it right up to the Blues. Johnathan Thurston, pairing with Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater returning to the side gives them plenty of weapons to run up a score.

    Do the Blues have the resilience when the Maroon blow torch goes on their belly? I don’t think so.

    First try-scorer: Dane Gagai

    Greg Prichard


    Tip: Blues by 10

    The Maroons did what they had to do and made numerous changes. Had they gone in with close to the same team from Origin, they would have automatically come out of this game with the same result.

    Now that they’re fielding a revamped team, particularly with superstar Johnathan Thurston back from injury at five-eighth, they can plan to do things differently and tell themselves they’re a much better chance of winning this time around.

    But the fact is the Blues are still superior in the forwards and on the bench. The Maroons couldn’t stop Andrew Fifita, in particular, in game one and they couldn’t find anyone amongst themselves to do even remotely the same sort of damage.

    The Blues have got the best big boppers to start the game, in Fifita and Aaron Woods, and then another big human in David Klemmer to come off the bench and keep the size and power factors going, keeping the pressure on the Maroons.

    The other Blues bench players – Wade Graham, Jake Trbojevic and Jack Bird – are all skilled as well as tough. The Maroons are going to have good periods of play, but it will be very difficult for them to hold the Blues for 80 minutes. Too difficult, in fact.

    First try-scorer: Jarryd Hayne

    Mary Konstantopoulos

    Tip: Blues by 10

    This is going to be a great game. Finally, Kevin Walters has picked the next generation of Queensland players and with the inclusion of Coen Hess, Jarrod Wallace and the return of Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston, I’m expecting a genuine contest.

    To win, the Blues must come to this game with the same sense of commitment and urgency they showed in Game 1. With a rejuvenated Queensland forward pack, the Maroons will look to control the pace of the game (something they were unable to do in Game 1). It will be up to Nathan Peats to ensure quick service from dummy half and for the Blues forward pack to match the strength of their northern rivals.

    Many NSW fans might be nervous at the squad announced. I’m not. State of Origin is about the best 17 from one state taking on the best 17 from the other.

    With 80,000 people behind them on Wednesday night, the Blues will get home.

    First try-scorer: James Tedesco

    Scott Pryde

    Tip: Maroons by 4

    The Queensland changes are going to be enough to get them over the line. Seven is a huge number, but it’s not as if all the players they are bringing in are inexperienced.

    That would be a problem. Bringing in Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston isn’t. Thurston is the best player to ever step on a rugby league field, and his class and control on return from injury against the Eels last week was stunning.

    Joining Cooper Cronk, it’s hard to see Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney being able to run the game how they would like, as was the case in Game 1.

    Queensland’s biggest problem is still trying to contain the Blues pack, who rolled them in Game 1. Andrew Fifita put in a special performance, but it’s one we all know he is capable of reproducing. Jarrod Wallace is the key stopping man, but the selections of Coen Hess and Gavin Cooper are also good ones.

    Josh Papalii coming off the bench is also a scary prospect. If they can maintain level pecking in the forwards, then Thurston and Cronk’s kicking game, as well as Slater’s match-winning ability gets them over the line.

    I do think the Blues will make a strong start though.

    First try-scorer: Josh Dugan

    State of Origin Game 2 Tim Greg Mary Scott The Crowd
    NSW v QLD QLD NSW NSW QLD NSW
    Margin 8 10 10 4 1
    First Try-Scorer Dane Gagai Jarryd Hayne James Tedesco Josh Dugan Jarryd Hayne

    Now it’s your turn to try and beat the experts. Using the form below, select your tips for the weekend ahead and we will have the results at 6pm (AEDT) on Wednesday evening.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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