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Queensland vs New South Wales
State Of Origin, 12 July, 2017
|Fulltime - Queensland 22, New South Wales 6|
|Queensland||New South Wales|
|Referee: Matt Cecchin|
|Touch judges: Brett Suttor & Chris Butler|
|Video Referee: Bernard Sutton|
The Queensland Maroons have won the 2017 State of Origin series in dominating circumstances, taking a 16-point victory in the decider at Suncorp Stadium over the New South Wales Blues with a 22-6 final scoreline.
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The 2017 State of Origin series all comes down to Game 3 as the Queensland Maroons attempt to win without Johnathan Thurston against a New South Wales Blues team who have dominated for much of the series.
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The Blues should have wrapped up the series in Sydney. After taking Game 1 to the tune of 28-4, they were up 16-6 and dominating at halftime in Game 2.
But then the whole series flipped on its head. Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney went missing, the Blues forwards suddenly looked tired and the Maroons made them pay.
Dane Gagai, who has scored a try in every Maroons’ victory he has been a part of, scored a double and Thurston, playing with one arm, held his own to slow the winning conversion.
While Thurston’s representative career is over, this was supposed to be his farewell match and at home, the Maroons will be playing to send him out a winner in spirit.
In Thurston’s place is Cameron Munster, making his debut alongside a full Melbourne Storm spine – Bill Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith the other three. Michael Morgan will start in the centres, while Queensland’s other Origin debutant, Ben Hunt, joins the bench.
The selection of Hunt is somewhat controversial, but the Maroons have written the textbook on how to use a utility in State of Origin. Given the misuse of Jack Bird by the Blues and the form of Cameron Munster, you can only think they still hold the advantage in that department.
Queensland need to improve and that’s the bottom line. If the Blues had closed out Game 2, this would be a dead rubber.
New South Wales have been dominant thanks to their pack. In Game 1, it was all Andrew Fifita has he claimed man of the match honours on the back of nearly 200 metres.
While the Maroons swamped him every time he had the ball in the second game, it allowed Jake Trbojevic and David Klemmer to play starring roles off the bench. Queensland must find a way to shut down all the Blues forwards, and if that means slightly averting attention from Fifita, then so be it.
New South Wales have also had the upper hand when it comes to kicking games, but that’s a shock. Simply put, Smith and Cronk are yet to play a good game in the series – don’t expect them to put in a third bad performance.
Even if the Blues dominate like they have done in the first two matches, it’s just so difficult to tip them away from home in a decider. Smith is yet to play a good game, and with the Origin experience of Slater and Cronk alongside him, it’s not hard to see why I’m tipping them to lift the shield again.
Queensland by 4.
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