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State of Origin 3 stats preview: There's no such thing as a dead rubber

Angus Crichton of the Blues and teammates celebrate. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Expert
11th July, 2018
75

The stats suggest that the Maroons are major underdogs in the final match and in severe danger of losing the series 3-0.

However, only a fool writes off the Queenslanders.

More Origin 3
» GORE: Queensland prove every single Origin match matters
» Who rose to the occasion for the Maroons? All Queensland players rated
» Every New South Wales player’s Game 3 effort rated
» Seven talking points from Origin 3
» WATCH: Complete match highlights from Billy Slater’s triumphant farewell

State of Origin is all about hating your opponent and striving to stop them getting what they want. The Blues desperately want to pants their opponents, who have so ruthlessly owned then over the past decade.

The Maroons want to stop the Blues just as desperately.

There is no such thing as a dead rubber in State of Origin.

There have been 22 Origin Game 3s held in Brisbane, with Queensland winning 14, losing seven and drawing one. That’s a 63.6 per cent rate of victory.

Of those games, 12 were dead rubbers, of which the Maroons won seven (58.33 per cent). Three of the times that they lost Game 3 at home, they had already won the series.

Queensland staved off a whitewash by winning the last game at home in 1990, 1993, 2003 and 2014. However, in 1986 and 1996, they lost the game and the series 3-0. Those are the only two times that the Maroons suffered a whitewash.

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(Note: I do not include any 1997 games in these stats due to the Super League-ARL fiasco.)

Age, weight and minutes in the legs = NSW, just

NSW Age Minutes Weight QLD Age Minutes Weight
James Tedesco 25 80 96 Billy Slater 35 80 89
Tom Trbojevic 21 80 102 Valentine Holmes 22 80 85
James Roberts 25 79.1 93 Dane Gagai 27 80 91
Latrell Mitchell 21 78.6 104 Will Chambers 30 80 100
Josh Addo-Carr 22 79.7 86 Corey Oates 23 75.9 106
James Maloney 32 80 83 Cameron Munster 23 80 89
Nathan Cleary 20 72 92 Daly Cherry-Evans 29 80.6 84
Paul Vaughan 27 51.1 110 Jai Arrow 22 56 101
Damien Cook 27 79.3 86 Andrew McCullough 28 75 90
David Klemmer 24 54.8 116 Josh Papalii 26 66.5 110
Tyson Frizell 26 74.4 108 Gavin Cooper 32 80 108
Boyd Cordner 26 76.1 102 Felise Kaufusi 26 78.3 112
Jack de Belin 27 56.8 107 Josh McGuire 28 63.6 106
Jake Trbojevic 24 76.8 107 Ben Hunt 28 77.2 87
Angus Crichton 22 79.8 102 Jarrod Wallace 26 46.7 108
Tariq Sims 28 76.5 105 Coen Hess 21 75.4 110
Tyrone Peachey 26 71.5 93 Tim Glasby 29 42.5 106
Average 24.9 73.3 99.5 Average 26.8 71.6 98.9
Total 423 1246.5 1692 Total 455 1218 1682
Forwards 25.7 / 231 69.5 / 625.6 104.75 / 838 Forwards 26.4 / 238 64.9 / 584 105.6 / 951
Backs 24 / 192 77.6 / 621 93.6 / 749 Backs 27.1 / 217 79.2 / 634 91.4 / 731

While the comparative weights of the two sides are virtually even, the New South Welshmen are almost two years younger than their opponents on average.

Jimmy Maloney is the only Cockroach who is over 30 years old. Conversely, the Maroons have three old men in their side, the oldest of who is 35-year-old Billy Slater, who is bowing out following this match.

Further, NSW have almost 30 minutes more in their legs.

Runs and metres = NSW by a length

NSW Runs Metres QLD Runs Metres
James Tedesco 15.5 170.0 Billy Slater 11.4 95
Tom Trbojevic 14.1 140.0 Valentine Holmes 10.9 118
James Roberts 8.6 78.0 Dane Gagai 13.3 113
Latrell Mitchell 6.8 74.0 Will Chambers 11.2 94
Josh Addo-Carr 10.6 116.0 Corey Oates 13.2 145
James Maloney 5.3 54.0 Cameron Munster 9.8 86
Nathan Cleary 7.8 59.0 Daly Cherry-Evans 5.6 53
Paul Vaughan 13.4 126.0 Jai Arrow 15.5 141
Damien Cook 7.5 94.0 Andrew McCullough 4.5 41
David Klemmer 17.8 169.0 Josh Papalii 13.3 119
Tyson Frizell 10.2 96.0 Gavin Cooper 9.1 67
Boyd Cordner 12.4 108.0 Felise Kaufusi 7.7 66
Jack de Belin 10.8 93.0 Josh McGuire 13.3 122
Jake Trbojevic 13.4 117.0 Ben Hunt 4.1 35
Angus Crichton 15.3 119.0 Jarrod Wallace 12.8 108
Tariq Sims 12.7 110.0 Coen Hess 11.8 92
Tyrone Peachey 10.8 101.0 Tim Glasby 8.9 74
Average 11.4 107.3 Average 10.4 92.3
Total 193 1824.0 Total 176.4 1569
Forwards 12.6 / 113.5 114.7 / 1032 Forwards 10.7 / 96.9 92.2 / 830
Backs 9.9 / 79.5 99 / 792 Backs 9.9 / 79.5 92.4 / 739
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Gee, these are telling stats.

255 metres is a lot of difference in the average metres comparison. The Blues have ten of their squad who average over 100 metres a game, while Queensland have just seven. The lack of metres in backrowers Gavin Cooper and Felise Kaufusi is a particular concern.

NSW also have 13 extra runs a game overall – a clear advantage.

Excepting the hookers, the Blues have no forwards who average fewer than ten runs a game. The Maroons have three: Tim Glasby, Cooper and Kaufusi.

Tackling = even

NSW Tackles Missed Tackles QLD Tackles Missed Tackles
James Tedesco 5.8 0.6 Billy Slater 4 1.1
Tom Trbojevic 4.7 1.3 Valentine Holmes 2.6 1.6
James Roberts 12 1.2 Dane Gagai 14.9 3
Latrell Mitchell 8.8 1.4 Will Chambers 12.7 3
Josh Addo-Carr 4 0.7 Corey Oates 3.7 0.8
James Maloney 11 5.8 Cameron Munster 16.8 2.3
Nathan Cleary 13.2 0.6 Daly Cherry-Evans 16.8 2.2
Paul Vaughan 22.8 1 Jai Arrow 27.6 1.6
Damien Cook 38.8 2.2 Andrew McCullough 40.4 0.7
David Klemmer 20.6 1.3 Josh Papalii 23.2 1.3
Tyson Frizell 24.5 1.3 Gavin Cooper 26.3 2.2
Boyd Cordner 26.5 1.6 Felise Kaufusi 29 1.3
Jack de Belin 26.5 1 Josh McGuire 27.3 1.9
Jake Trbojevic 37.7 1.5 Ben Hunt 15.8 3.8
Angus Crichton 32 2.2 Jarrod Wallace 23.2 1
Tariq Sims 20.6 1.4 Coen Hess 31.3 1.7
Tyrone Peachey 12.8 2.1 Tim Glasby 22.6 1.4
Average Average
Total 322.3 27.2 Total 338.2 30.9
Forwards 27.8 / 250 13.5 Forwards 27.9 / 251 13.1
Backs 9 / 72.3 13.7 Backs 10.9 / 87.3 17.8

The Maroons have the Blues covered when it comes to tacklingm, with 16 extra tackles in them. However, NSW miss nearly four fewer tackles.

Just look at Maloney’s 5.8 misses and Ben Hunt’s 3.8. They’ll be definite targets again, while Daly Cherry-Evans and Cam Munster will also draw some attention.

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There is no getting away from Queensland’s backline’s missed tackle count.

Breaking and scoring = NSW

NSW Tackle breaks Line breaks Try assists Tries Queensland Tackle breaks Line breaks Try assists Tries
James Tedesco 4.8 0.9 0.6 4 Billy Slater 2.9 0.4 0.8 4
Tom Trbojevic 4.5 0.9 1 2 Valentine Holmes 2.1 0.7 0.1 12
James Roberts 3.4 0.5 0.5 6 Dane Gagai 3.1 0.2 0.3 1
Latrell Mitchell 4 0.7 0.2 6 Will Chambers 1.6 0.3 0.1 2
Josh Addo-Carr 4 1 0.2 14 Corey Oates 3.5 1 0.1 8
James Maloney 1.6 0.2 0.8 2 Cameron Munster 2.7 0.3 0.8 2
Nathan Cleary 2.6 0.4 0.8 1 Daly Cherry-Evans 2.4 0.3 0.4 4
Paul Vaughan 1.4 0.1 0 2 Jai Arrow 1.9 0.3 0 3
Damien Cook 3.4 0.8 0.3 3 Andrew McCullough 0.7 0.2 0.3 2
David Klemmer 1.3 0 0.1 0 Josh Papalii 2.1 0.3 0.2 3
Tyson Frizell 1.3 0.1 0 4 Gavin Cooper 0.4 0.4 0 5
Boyd Cordner 1.1 0.1 0.1 1 Felise Kaufusi 0.4 0.3 0.1 3
Jack de Belin 2.1 0.3 0 3 Josh McGuire 1.6 0 0 0
Jake Trbojevic 0.9 0.3 0.1 4 Ben Hunt 2.8 0.3 0.8 3
Angus Crichton 2.3 0.3 0.1 2 Jarrod Wallace 0.8 0.1 0 2
Tariq Sims 2.9 0.4 0 5 Coen Hess 2.8 0.5 0 4
Tyrone Peachey 3.4 0.3 0.3 6 Tim Glasby 0.8 0.1 0.1 1
Average Average
Total 45 7.3 5.1 65 Total 32.6 5.7 4.1 59
Forwards 1.8 / 16.7 2.4 0.7 23 Forwards 11.5 2.2 0.7 23
Backs 3.5 / 28.3 4.9 4.4 41 Backs 21.1 3.5 3.4 36

While the Blues’ advantage in line breaks, try assists and tries is only slight, their advantage in tackle breaks is huge: 12.4.

While we saw above that the Queenslanders have a higher tackling capacity, they also miss more. NSW’s ability to break the tackle could well be the significant stat.

Tyrone Peachey and James Roberts are the worst tackle breakers in the NSW back five and they boast 6.8 between them. The Maroons’ two best tackle breakers – Corey Oates and Dane Gagai – have 6.6 between them.

Mix the Blues’ backlines ability to break tackles with the Maroons’ backs’ ability to miss them and we could see a score blow out.

Foulers and fumblers = Queensland

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NSW Penalties Errors Sin Bins QLD Penalties Errors Sin Bins
James Tedesco 0.2 1.8 0 Billy Slater 0.1 0.9 0
Tom Trbojevic 0 1.5 0 Valentine Holmes 0.1 0.9 0
James Roberts 0.5 0.4 1 Dane Gagai 0.3 1.2 0
Latrell Mitchell 1.1 1.2 2 Will Chambers 0.6 1.4 0
Josh Addo-Carr 0.3 1.1 1 Corey Oates 0.1 1.1 0
James Maloney 0.7 1.7 0 Cameron Munster 1.1 0.8 0
Nathan Cleary 0.6 1.2 0 Daly Cherry-Evans 0.8 1.4 0
Paul Vaughan 0.5 0.3 0 Jai Arrow 0.5 0.2 0
Damien Cook 0.8 1 0 Andrew McCullough 0.7 0.4 0
David Klemmer 0.5 0.3 1 Josh Papalii 0.6 0.5 0
Tyson Frizell 0.8 0.5 0 Gavin Cooper 0.3 0.8 0
Boyd Cordner 0.3 0.5 0 Felise Kaufusi 0.2 0.6 0
Jack de Belin 0.8 0.5 1 Josh McGuire 0.9 0.1 0
Jake Trbojevic 1.4 0.4 2 Ben Hunt 0.7 0.7 0
Angus Crichton 0.9 1.4 0 Jarrod Wallace 1.1 0.4 1
Tariq Sims 0.5 0.3 0 Coen Hess 1 0.5 0
Tyrone Peachey 0.9 0.6 0 Tim Glasby 0.3 0 0
Average Average
Total 10.8 14.7 8 Total 9.4 11.9 1
Forwards 6.5 5.2 4 Forwards 5.6 3.5 1
Backs 4.3 9.5 4 Backs 3.8 8.4 0

Queensland win this criteria easily and, considering that this match is at their home ground, this advantage could be amplified. While the penalties conceded are close, the Blues make three extra errors and are eight times more likely – at least by these stats – to have a player binned.

Latrell Mitchell and Jake Trbojevic are both almost certain to concede a penalty in this game. Jarrod Wallace will probably do the same for the Maroons.
Jimmys Tedesco and Maloney are most likely to make an error, with Will Chambers and Daly Cherry-Evans the most likely for Queensland.

Origin experience = Queensland by a Slater

NSW Origin Games QLD Origin Games
James Tedesco 6 Billy Slater 30
Tom Trbojevic 2 Valentine Holmes 3
James Roberts 2 Dane Gagai 8
Latrell Mitchell 2 Will Chambers 8
Josh Addo-Carr 2 Corey Oates 5
James Maloney 12 Cameron Munster 3
Nathan Cleary 2 Daly Cherry-Evans 7
Paul Vaughan 2 Jai Arrow 2
Damien Cook 2 Andrew McCullough 2
David Klemmer 11 Josh Papalii 10
Tyson Frizell 7 Gavin Cooper 5
Boyd Cordner 11 Felise Kaufusi 2
Jack de Belin 2 Josh McGuire 10
Jake Trbojevic 5 Ben Hunt 3
Angus Crichton 2 Jarrod Wallace 4
Tariq Sims 0 Coen Hess 4
Tyrone Peachey 2 Tim Glasby 3
Average 4.2 Average 6.4
Total 72 Total 109
Forwards 42 Forwards 42
Backs 30 Backs 67

The New South Welshmen have featured at least one debutant in each match of this series, with Tariq Sims the latest editon – and a deserving one. The big unit from Gerringong has had a few quiet seasons since he first burst on the scene but in the last two years he has been wonderful.

The difference in experience in this game comes down to Billy Slater’s 30 games. This will be his 31st and last, seeing him equal Brad Fittler and Wally Lewis on that number. Fairly appropriate company for a superstar like Slater.

Who is going to win and why?
You can never count out the Queenslanders, especially at home. Four times at home they’ve staved off whitewashes, yet only twice have they gone down 3-0.

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However, this will be the third time. The golden era is over. The dynasty has passed.

The Blues’ new-found belief and momentum is still gathering strength but it is already too much for the weakened Maroons. Their valiant defence will be overcome by the 60th minute and the Queensland faithful will have to watch Boyd Cordner lift the shield on their home turf.

And Billy Slater’s Origin career will end as it began – with a loss.