State of Origin 3 expert tips and predictions: NSW Blues vs Queensland Maroons – Game 3, 2018

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    The State of Origin series heads to Brisbane for a dead rubber, if there is ever such a thing in this arena. This is The Roar‘s expert tipping panel for Game 3.

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    » WATCH: Complete match highlights from Billy Slater’s triumphant farewell

    The New South Wales Blues have seemingly brought the Maroons dynasty to an end. After more than a decade of heartache, the Blues lead two-nil heading to Brisbane for the third and final match.

    While this series was always going to be tough for Queensland without Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater (the latter for Game 1 at least), the Blues winning in straight sets is not something many predicted or thought might happen.

    But alas, here we are. Game 3, the Maroons facing a sweep on home soil.

    Series sweeps have been incredibly rare across the course of Origin history. Since 2000, there has only been two sweeps – one being in 2000 and the other in 2010 when Queensland won three games to nothing.

    Incredibly, the Maroons had just one sweep throughout their incredible run with the Blues saving three of them. Queensland also saved a sweep in 2014. So that makes a success record of one sweep out of five opportunities since 2006.

    If we go back even further, there have only been seven series sweeps out of 17 opportunities in the history of Origin, so that shows you how rare it is.

    Apart from all that about sweeps, this is Billy Slater’s final game and Queensland won’t go down without a fight, despite the Blues dominance during the first two games of the series.

    Don’t forget to submit your tips on the form below by 7pm (AEST) to be part of The Crowd as you take on the experts.

    Tim Gore

    Tip: New South Wales by 18

    DCE is in the unenviable position of trying to lead his state to a face-saving win with a vastly understrength side. It’s akin to Jamie Whincup being given the keys to an HQ Holden and told to win this year’s Bathurst.

    However, the Maroons are at home can never be counted out. They’ve avoided whitewashes at home four times and only been whitewashed twice in the whole history of Origin (PS I don’t know what happened in 1997, it doesn’t count anyway).

    New South Wales mean to grind the Maroons underfoot to try and erase the pain of thirteen years of humiliation and those endless, cocky Queensland supporters constantly dishing out crap. I just think they want it bad and the Maroons won’t be able to repel.

    I tip Jimmy Maloney to star and Queensland hearts to break.

    James Maloney NSW Blues State of Origin NRL Rugby League 2017

    James Maloney is a winner (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    First try-scorer: Latrell Mitchell
    Man of the match: James Maloney

    Tom Rock

    Tip: Queensland by 14

    I’d love to say that the Blues will complete a rare clean sweep at Suncorp, but I think that Queensland simply have more to play for in this one. From Billy Slater’s final game, to Daly Cherry-Evans’ return to the Origin arena and the Maroons setting a platform for 2019, it just feels like Queensland want it more.

    And let’s be honest, despite the fact that NSW won the opening two games of the series, Queensland were highly competitive in both fixtures, and probably should have won Game 2 in Sydney.

    The addition of Cherry-Evans will bring a touch of polish to the end of each set and his ability to execute under pressure will help the Maroons make the most of those ‘Origin moments’, which is something they lacked with Ben Hunt at halfback. And although the loss of Greg Inglis will be detrimental to the Queensland’s defensive structures, I think the inclusion of Corey Oates will have a positive impact on their attack.

    I still believe that the Blues have the potential to blow Queensland out of the water and score a bag of points. Their backline is oozing with try-scoring potential, and if their attack finally clicks, things could get ugly in a hurry for the Maroons. But there is too much at stake for Queensland to let that happen.

    Dead rubber? In Origin, there’s no such thing.

    First try-scorer: Valentine Holmes
    Man of the match: Daly Cherry-Evans

    AJ Mithen

    Tip: Queensland by 14

    Here we are, Origin three and the general consensus is that Queensland are on their knees and New South Wales will be freewheeling all over the top of them for a decade to come.

    You won’t find that view here though. I think Freddie’s boys are happy with winning so far and have thusly spent this barefoot week stretching and sharing confidences. They’re not ready for the wall of hate and wave of noise that’s coming their way after two games with supportive crowds and fortunate results.

    Remember, because I’ve said this a lot here on The Roar – Queensland have been right in this series but have cost themselves dearly with bad attacking options, penalties at crucial times and some missed conversions. Just like 2017 and Jarryd Hayne’s attempted miracle ball, the result could be vastly different if just one thing in a game went another way.

    I’m tipping this result because Queensland will be well and truly amped for this game and I anticipate they’ll make the first 20 minutes count much more effectively than they have so far during the series.

    Billy Slater will want make his last go round in maroon something memorable and his team mates will remember that a decent game three can keep you in the eyes of the selectors for the following series. Players like Will Chambers and Jarrod Wallace need to make this game count or they’re unlikely to reappear in 2019.

    Billy Slater

    Billy Slater is bowing out (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

    I know the overwhelming ‘vibe’ is that the Blues will roll on for their first Origin whitewash since 2000, but I don’t see that happening. Load up on the home state.

    First try-scorer: Felise Kaufusi
    Man of the match: Cameron Munster

    Scott Pryde

    Tips: New South Wales by 10

    The Maroons might be back at home and trying to save a sweep, but they have been outplayed in the first two games of this series and I’m far from convinced the changes they have made to their side are the correct ones.

    Daly Cherry-Evans has never excelled at the next level, so to see him get another chance while Ben Hunt has been dropped to the bench and Ashley Taylor overlooked altogether is somewhat mind-boggling.

    Hunt back to the bench isn’t exactly going to improve his level either. It’s sure to do nothing but knock his confidence around moving forward.

    The Blues have made no changes ahead of the third game and their balanced squad has been enough to knock Queensland off the park pretty well in the first two games.

    Sure, playing in Queensland isn’t going to be easy, but no one wants to lift the Shield after a loss.

    They will be under the pump, but given the way James Tedesco has been playing along with the control shown by James Maloney, they should have enough in the tank to get the job done.

    First try-scorer: Valentine Holmes
    Man of the match: James Tedesco

    QLD v NSW Tim Tom AJ Scott The Crowd
    Tip NSW QLD QLD NSW NSW
    Margin 18 14 14 10 6
    First try-scorer Mitchell Holmes Kaufusi Holmes Mitchell
    Man of the match Maloney Cherry-Evans Munster Tedesco Slater

    Crowd tipping will close at 7pm (AEST) on Thursday evening. Be sure to submit your tips on the form below before then to make your opinion count as part of The Crowd.

    Note – on the below form, please select N/A in the margin category for the team you aren’t selecting.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 2000 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • Roar Guru

      July 11th 2018 @ 10:49am
      PNG Broncos fan88 said | July 11th 2018 @ 10:49am | ! Report

      Emotion will have the QLD’s pumped in the opening 20-30mns.
      But the disruptions in the team makeup will be telling for the remainder of the match.

      Just cant look past the settled halves and electric fullback and hooker that NSW have at the moment.
      Freddy has them relaxed, self assured and confident to handle the hostile Suncorp crowd.

      Blues to sweep the series by more than a converted try.

    • July 11th 2018 @ 11:14am
      kk said | July 11th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

      Goal kicking may prove to be the deciding factor. NSW by <7.

      Valentine Holmes to score first and Damien Cook for MOM.

    • Roar Rookie

      July 11th 2018 @ 11:18am
      Dirk Diggler said | July 11th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

      Agree PNG Queensland have shown enough starch in the opening 20-40 minutes in Games 1 & 2 to suggest that they will be ready. The question is will they have enough left in the tank to close the game out if close. My heart says yes but the head says no….unfortunately.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 11th 2018 @ 3:10pm
        Short Memory said | July 11th 2018 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

        Spot on DD (top name BTW) QLD forwards’ bash-em-up defence has been eye-catching… until the final 15 minutes, when NSW have proceeded to run riot. If Blues can withstand the early onslaught – which will be even more ferocious with the vocal QLD crowd, they are a very good chance to come home over the top. Kevvie’s selection shuffle (while largely forced on him) could come back to bit him on the ass. QLD defensive frailites in the series so far have been Hunt, Gagai and Chambers, and to a lesser extent Kaufusi. They were all on QLD right side – so no surprise most NSW points have been scored there. Now Gagai and Chambers are split left and right, and Hunt will sub on in late the middle. Giving NSW a spot player at every point across the defensive line for the final 15m. If Blues play it right, it could get ugly for QLD with vulnerable defenders backed up by tired forwards.
        That said, history is against the Blues winning a dead rubber in Brisbane. They have only done it 2 times out of 6 previous attempts – and by very small margins. QLD have won the other 4 convincingly.
        DEAD RUBBERS IN BRIS AFTER NSW SERIES WIN:
        1985 Q20/6
        1986 N18/16
        1990 Q14/10
        1993 Q24/12
        1996 N15/14
        2003 Q36/6
        Here’s hoping the Blues can make history tonight.

    • July 11th 2018 @ 11:42am
      DP Schaefer said | July 11th 2018 @ 11:42am | ! Report

      Hey Roar,

      Matt Prior isn’t in game 3, where is Sims on your list?

      • Roar Guru

        July 11th 2018 @ 11:48am
        Scott Pryde said | July 11th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

        Apologies, that’s fixed.

        • July 11th 2018 @ 2:16pm
          DP Schaefer said | July 11th 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

          Thanks Scott, I think he’ll make an impact.

          • Roar Guru

            July 11th 2018 @ 2:23pm
            Scott Pryde said | July 11th 2018 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

            I hope he will!

            • July 12th 2018 @ 2:11pm
              DP. Schaefer said | July 12th 2018 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

              Ohh dear…. impact – yes, some great hits and one that he could have done without…

    • Roar Guru

      July 11th 2018 @ 7:38pm
      Scott Pryde said | July 11th 2018 @ 7:38pm | ! Report

      THE CROWD’S TIPS ARE IN
      Tip – Blues (62.5%)
      Margin – By 6
      First try-scorer – Latrell Mitchell (20.5%)
      Man of the match – Billy Slater (24%)

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