The Australian Rugby League Commission has announced it plans to restart the NRL competition on May 28 and is weighing up the merits of two potential season structures.
The 2017 State of Origin series is going the distance to Game 3, and as a rugby league fan, it feels great! So, who’s going to win? Well, The Roar‘s expert tipping panel is here to point you in the right direction.
After the Blues ran away with Game 1 against a lacklustre Queensland 28-4, it was the normally loyal Maroons camp swinging the changes. They made seven in total, but for the first 50 minutes of Game 2, it didn’t look like it was going to work.
Then, all of a sudden the Blues went off the boil. They controlled the game woefully, didn’t try to keep scoring and in the end were never going to defend their ten-point lead.
Instead, they got rolled. Dane Gagai scored a double and the Maroons snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat to send the 2017 series to a decider – something it should never have gotten to.
More State of Origin coverage
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» State of Origin kick-off time: When will Game 3 start?
So here we are. Game 3 at Suncorp Stadium in front of 52,000 Queensland supporters. It’s the toughest task possible for the Blues, while the Maroons will have pressure heaped from left, right and centre.
Forget what else is happening. The simple fact is they should rise. It’s Game 3 at Suncorp Stadium. But then you remember Johnathan Thurston is now injured (and retired as a result) from State of Origin and will watch what would have been his final game from the sideline.
Then you think about Cooper Cronk; is this it for him?
Two legends of the game – and they could both be about to depart the big stage at home. If the circumstances could be more perfect for Queensland, I’d like someone to explain how.
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 5pm (AEST) tomorrow, so be sure to have them in before then. Who knows, The Crowd might prove themselves to be better than the experts.
Tip: Maroons by 8
Queensland. The Blues just can’t find a senior player prepared to be captain. Mitchell Pearce, Aaron Woods, Jarryd Hayne, James Maloney? Nuh.
How can such a good side have so few leaders? They lost Origin 2 because of this lack of leadership. Now they have to go back to Suncorp, with all of that pressure, and win the series. Make no mistake, their side is plenty good enough and the Maroons pack, pound for pound, can’t match up.
But just like an English batting line-up facing Shane Warne, I reckon the NSW side will crap their pants, drop the ball, lose the plot and lose the game.
Even without Johnathan Thurston out there, the Blues need a captain – someone to stand up and lead the way. An actual captain – and they don’t.
First try-scorer: Dane Gagai
Tip: Blues by 12
NSW. The Blues dominated Game 1 and were on top in Game 2 until they inexplicably lost their way during the second half through a series of stupid penalties and wrong options.
If they get back to what they were doing in Game 1, playing through Queensland with their forwards and being disciplined, there is no reason they can’t again win on the opposition’s home ground to clinch the series.
The best football the Blues have played in this series is still clearly better than the best football the Maroons have played, so it really is just about sticking to the game plan, playing to their strengths and not switching off at any stage of the 80 minutes.
Queensland will no doubt appreciate being back at home, but NSW won’t be upset about having to go to Suncorp Stadium because the track is drier than it is in Sydney and suits the way they are going to want to play.
Forwards Andrew Fifita, Aaron Woods, David Klemmer and Jake Trbojevic to put the Blues on the front foot and backs James Maloney, Jarryd Hayne and James Tedesco to take advantage of the good field position and space in which to move.
First try-scorer: Jarryd Hayne
Tip: Maroons by 4
I have a confession to make – the last State of Origin broke me.
As a New South Wales fan, that game was ours for the taking and unfortunately, the Blues could not capitalise on their opportunity.
While the Blues named the exact same squad for this game, there have been changes for the Maroons. No Thurston – but Ben Hunt and Cameron Munster have been selected. I’m particularly looking forward to watching Munster.
Unfortunately, I can’t see the Blues winning this game. They don’t call Suncorp Stadium ‘the Cauldron’ for nothing and with this potentially being Cooper Cronk’s last game in the Maroon jersey, Queensland will be looking to close this series out.
We will see New South Wales play like they did in the series opener – they will attempt to speed up the play of the ball and play the game at their pace. Unfortunately, Queensland have a different forward pack to Game 1 so this won’t be as easy as it was back on May 31.
Can Mitchell Pearce step up and lead the team to victory?
I say no – Queensland to win in a close one.
First try-scorer: Cameron Munster
Tip: Maroons by 4
We have the decider that everyone wanted, but with no Johnathan Thurston or Darius Boyd, does it even the playing field enough for the Blues?
With those two playing, there was almost no doubt in my mind the Maroons were going to win. A decider at Suncorp Stadium in Thurston’s last Origin game? Yeah, good luck to the Blues.
I still think Queensland are going to win though, it just won’t be as convincing. A team with Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk controlling it doesn’t play three bad games in a row – because that’s exactly what they have done so far.
With the exception of the final half hour of Game 2, when Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney proved once and for all their worth at Origin level, the Blues have been by far the better team in this series.
Queensland’s forwards have been lacking and Smith is yet to play a good game for the series. Queensland’s kicking game has been ordinary, and as such they only just forced a decider.
The chance of them playing that badly again though? Next to none. Queensland will win.
First try-scorer: Cameron Munster
|Game 3||Tim||Greg||Mary||Scott||The Crowd|
|QLD v NSW||QLD||NSW||QLD||QLD||QLD|
|First try-scorer||Dane Gagai||Jarryd Hayne||Cameron Munster||Cameron Munster||Dane Gagai|
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 5pm (AEST) tomorrow afternoon.