After the NSW Blues hit back in a big way in Perth to lock the series up, the decider in Sydney could only be pitched as a ‘promoter’s dream’ or a ‘potential ratings bonanza’.
All we need now is for the match and series to be fought and won – and the headlines will flow.
Here’s a few back page banners to ponder. With the exception of one, they are blatantly and unapologetically biased towards a New South Wales win.
More Origin 3
» NSW Blues player ratings
» Queensland Maroons player ratings
» WATCH: Match highlights as Blues seal epic series
» WATCH: James Tedesco ices victory with last-play winner
» WATCH: Kaufusi scores first try of Origin 3
“Mitch tells critics to Pearce off and dedicates victory to all the club legends”
Roosters legend Kevin ‘Horrie’ Hastings was often referred to as the best club player never to represent Australia back in the 1970s. The moustachioed halfback played one game for NSW coming from the reserve bench but despite his great club form he never won a Test jersey.
He was a man that gave everything for his club and won the Dally M Halfback of the year and the Rugby League Week Player of the Year three years running.
Mitchell Pearce, like Kevin Hastings, is a champion at club level and has never represented Australia. A loyal, hardworking and tenacious half in the same mode as Horrie, Pearce won a premiership at the Roosters in 2013 and is a major catalyst for Newcastle’s form in 2019.
Pearce has played in plenty of Origin encounters. Eighteen games in fact. He has never been involved in a winning Origin series and has been made a scapegoat for the Blues past woes.
It may be all about to change tomorrow night if ‘Junior Junior’ has the chance to sing the redemption song and wipe away the memories of his chequered past in the Origin arena after he has arrived late to a NSW series win.
“Locky it in Eddie! Munster produces last-minute play to win it for Queensland”
According to the Melbourne Storm digital team Cameron Munster’s nickname is ‘Munny’. Surely we can do better than that. References to that American sitcom from the 1960s stick out like a sore thumb.
Munster is not in the Darren Lockyer class yet but they will share the distinction of playing both five eighth and full back for Queensland after tomorrow night.
Lockyer had the ability to pull something special out when needed – the clutch play – when the game was on the line. Munster also seems to have that capacity. He is deceptively strong and elusive in attack while giving the impression of having time on his hands with the ball.
If Cherry-Evans and Norman can serve good ball up to Munster roaming out wide he is capable of delivering a play that could be the difference if things are close at the back end of the match.
“Master Chef! Cook whips up the basic ingredients for Blues victory”
There’s no substitute for speed in footy right? If you were around for Darren Clark’s short stint at the Balmain Tigers in 1991 you might beg to differ, but let’s just say it definitely helps.
Former beach sprinter Damien Cook can motor and what’s more he knows how to pick his moments. A couple of strong runs courtesy of the NSW big boppers, a quick play the ball while defenders are still getting to their feet and the Rabbitohs hooker is off and running and making valuable metres.
If Paul Vaughan and David Klemmer can bend the Maroons defensive line and maintain a fast ruck speed then Cook will be odds-on to break free. He will be looking for James Tedesco or Tom Trbojevic on his shoulder backing him up.
Kevin Walters and the Queensland team are well aware of the danger the Blues hooker presents and will have plans to shut him down.
However when fatigue sets in and concentration is not at 100 per cent the pacey dummy half can be through the defensive line in a millisecond.
“Walters breaks his silence on NSW to scream blue murder”
When Tony Abbott shouted ‘Stop the Boats’ repeatedly in press conferences it rapidly became grating and irritating.
By Origin 3 I am feeling the same way about Queensland coach Kevvie Walters and his Bradley Charles Stubbs-advised approach to never mentioning the opposition. How many times can we hear “We are excited about the game and we are looking forward to the opportunity” before it loses the novelty value?
A clearly upset Kevvie slipped for a moment after the Maroons loss in Perth in the post-match presser. After a recharge and perhaps a phone call to the Coach Whisperer he is back on monotonous message track.
I’m betting a series victory or an unfair loss might inspire Walters to break free from the talking points and tell the rugby league world what he really thinks.
The head coach tenure will become shaky for Walters if he drops another series. Losing two in a row is not a familiar outcome for Queensland. The vultures are circling.
Freddy Fittler, on the other hand, shoved it in the face of his critics in Perth. Sections of the media continue to question his credibility. Two series wins in a row for NSW would go a long way to silencing the disbelievers.
The Blues have momentum while the Maroons will draw on their renowned resilience and ‘never say die’ approach.
What’s your headline?