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The ultimate player-by-player State of Origin stats preview: Game 3, 2019

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Expert
10th July, 2019
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The topsy-turvey 2019 State of Origin series has been a rocky ride for all involved.

From Queensland being massive underdogs for Game 1 yet winning, to New South Wales making a swag of changes before belting the Maroons in Perth, which no-one expected, we now enter the third and deciding Origin match.

And the craziness isn’t done yet, because Origin 3 will see the return of Mitchell Pearce to the Blues. Pearce was a mainstay of the NSW side during the Maroon’s era of dominance, giving him the unwanted record of having never won a series, or a Game 3. Now, the Newcastle halfback has the chance, again, to right that error on his CV.

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

Pearce’s addition to the NSW side, along with Corey Norman joining the Maroons outfit, means that the 2019 series will have featured 12 players across both sides who have started a game in the halves in an NRL game this year: Daly Cherry-Evans, Nathan Cleary, Ben Hunt, James Maloney, Michael Morgan, Latrell Mitchell, Cameron Munster, Norman, Pearce, Kalyn Ponga, Cody Walker and Jack Wighton.

Let’s take a look then at how each match-up across the field stacks up statistically and whether there are any significant advantages for either side.

Fullback: James Tedesco vs Cameron Munster
Tedesco is the game’s premier custodian and in this match he’ll be up against arguably the game’s best five-eighth. Munster has played plenty of fullback in his career, so he’s certainly not out of his depth or position here. The numbers, though, clearly show the difference in the two positions.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Tedesco 13 80.2 8 0.4 15.8 171 10.8 14 70 13 36 12 75.00% 16 0
Munster 14 79.8 5 0.9 7.8 61.5 7.9 5 33 7 300 27 91.70% 10 6

Wing: Blake Ferguson vs Dane Gagai
Ferguson is regarded as one of the strongest ball runners in the game and his run and meterage stats back that up, however Gagai blitzes him when it comes to tackle breaks. Ultimately, Ferguson is the better attacker while Gagai is much stronger in defence.

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Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Ferguson 14 77.6 7 0.3 16.9 160.1 9.5 9 33 13 59 20 74.70% 25 3
Gagai 14 80.4 2 0.1 12.8 113.3 8.9 2 53 3 168 28 85.70% 12 4

Centre: Tom Trbojevic vs Will Chambers
Tom Trbojevic has only played a handful of NRL games this year, all at fullback, however he has been brilliant nearly every time. In Game 2 he started at centre and dominated the game with a near-man-of-the-match display.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Trbojevic 5 72.4 4 1.2 16 164.2 10.3 9 32 9 20 3 87.00% 8 3
Chambers 14 79.4 4 0.1 8.7 72.4 8.3 3 14 7 137 17 89.00% 16 2
Tom Trbojevic

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Centre: Jack Wighton vs Michael Morgan
Wighton and Morgan are both halves at club level and play different styles. Morgan is a genuine creator of opportunities while Wighton is a damaging ball runner.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Wighton 14 80 6 0.4 8.4 83.9 9.9 4 41 5 233 28 89.30% 29 10
Morgan 14 77.8 2 1.3 6 43.1 7.2 2 21 10 188 45 80.70% 30 8

Wing: Josh Addo-Carr vs Corey Oates
Both these wingers have scored ten tries this year and most of their stats are very close. Addo-Carr is clearly stronger in defence, while Oates averages 20 metres more per game. The New South Welshman has the pace advantage while his Queensland opponent has the upper hand when it comes to strength and power.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Addo-Carr 13 79.8 10 0.1 11.6 122.2 10.5 11 43 6 52 6 89.70% 13 4
Oates 13 80 10 0 13.3 143.5 10.8 13 44 2 53 14 79.10% 23 1
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Five-eighth: James Maloney vs Corey Norman
Maloney’s poor club form at the start of the year versus Norman’s red hot form at the same time sees this match-up tip in the favour of the Dragons five-eighth. The big difference here, though, is experience. Maloney is a clutch pressure player with plenty of experience in big games, whereas Norman will be on debut in a pivotal position with the series on the line.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Maloney 14 80.7 2 0.8 6 50.4 8.4 3 17 4 216 55 79.70% 13 22
Norman 11 78.4 1 1 5.9 63.5 10.7 3 19 3 158 18 89.80% 7 6

Halfback: Mitchell Pearce vs Daly Cherry-Evans
The much-maligned Pearce returns to the Origin arena thanks to a run of magnificent form for the Knights and injury to incumbent halfback Nathan Cleary. His good form has been matched though by that of Maroons half and captain Daly Cherry-Evans. His running game and defence have been much improved this year.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Pearce 14 79.7 5 1 5 36.6 7.3 4 23 6 203 40 83.50% 26 12
Cherry-Evans 10 76.3 3 0.9 4.6 44.6 9.7 5 15 10 165 19 89.70% 21 4
Mitchell Pearce in Origin colours

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Prop: Daniel Saifiti vs Josh Papalii
This was the most lopsided match-up in Game 2 and nothing has changed. Papalii’s numbers dwarf Saifiti’s in most areas, such as minutes played, runs, metres gained, line and tackle breaks, offloads and defence.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Saifiti 12 43.5 0 0.1 9.8 88.8 9 0 9 1 268 21 92.70% 3 4
Papalii 14 54.5 1 0.1 14.6 135 9.3 3 18 10 337 11 96.80% 2 5

Hooker: Damien Cook vs Ben Hunt
Test rake Damien Cook comes up against Dragons halfback Ben Hunt once again. They are both fairly evenly matched when it comes to running and chance creation stats, but in defence Cook is superior.

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Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Cook 14 79.4 2 1.2 4.5 40.6 9 5 22 10 540 17 96.90% 13 4
Hunt 14 79.4 5 0.9 4.9 40 8.2 4 25 21 294 51 85.20% 24 7

Prop: Paul Vaughan vs Joe Ofahengaue
Vaughan posts big numbers every game which makes him hard to compete with. Much like his match-up against Dylan Napa in Game 2, he again outperforms his opponent Ofahengaue in this match. The Maroons forward, though, does have better numbers than Napa did.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Vaughan 14 53.1 0 0.1 15.4 139.4 9.1 1 15 11 412 18 95.80% 2 6
Ofahengaue 12 44.5 1 0 13.1 115.6 8.8 1 14 12 272 17 94.10% 7 8
Paul Vaughan

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Second row: Boyd Cordner vs Ethan Lowe
Matt Gillett has been a late withdrawal for the Maroons, so new Souths recruit Ethan Lowe has been rushed into the side. Lowe has been playing a fair amount of 2019 in the centres, covering for injuries. This sees Cordner dominate the stats in nearly every field.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Cordner 13 73.5 4 0.1 12.2 111.8 9.1 2 23 7 312 25 92.60% 7 3
Lowe 15 57.9 2 0 9.5 82.8 8.7 2 13 3 317 29 91.60% 10 4

Second row: Tyson Frizell vs Felise Kaufusi
One of the tightest battles up front. Kaufusi has an ever-so-slight advantage in stats, however nearly every field is separated by so very little that it’s hard to say either player has the upper hand.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Frizell 12 54.1 1 0.1 9.8 86.2 8.8 1 5 8 301 18 94.40% 6 2
Kaufusi 14 78.9 1 0.1 10.1 89.4 8.8 0 7 5 412 16 96.30% 8 11
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Felise Kaufusi for the Maroons

(AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Lock: Jake Trbojevic vs Josh McGuire
Trbojevic is a classy player who possesses a good amount of ball skills with tradesman-like workmanship, while McGuire is more of a hard grafter who likes getting his hands dirty. Trbojevic is a brilliant defender while McGuire is a strong ball carrier.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Trbojevic 14 78.6 1 0.2 12.7 108.4 8.5 0 2 5 557 16 97.20% 6 12
McGuire 11 62.6 0 0 16.3 137.5 8.5 0 16 9 289 16 94.80% 5 6

Bench: Wade Graham vs Moses Mbye
Something of a mismatch given Graham is an edge back rower and Mbye is a fullback/centre, however Game 2 saw Graham play as a utility half, and brilliantly at that. He’s very fresh given he’s only played three games for the Sharks this year but has been fantastic in every match he’s played so far. Mbye comes out on top statistically, largely due to playing nine more games.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Graham 3 55.7 0 0.3 7.7 73.7 9.6 2 5 2 66 6 91.70% 2 2
Mbye 12 79.7 1 0.3 12.2 96.2 7.9 2 33 6 125 14 89.90% 12 5

Bench: David Klemmer vs Christian Welch
Klemmer is known for two things – making massive metres, even off the bench, and being a brick wall in defence. Welch is no match for Klemmer in these areas, but he is a genuine upgrade for this Maroons side and will bring plenty of impact off the bench.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Klemmer 12 62.7 0 0 18.2 174.8 9.6 0 12 11 364 5 98.60% 4 7
Welch 13 36.6 0 0 11.5 102.4 8.9 0 20 14 265 14 95.00% 1 4

Bench: Dale Finucane vs Tim Glasby
Finucane started at lock in Game 2 despite being named on the bench and was very strong. Glasby is a similar style of player, with both mobile locks capable of playing at prop. Finucane has the edge in running and tackling.

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Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Finuance 14 57.8 1 0 12.9 116.6 9 2 19 7 421 15 96.60% 6 8
Glasby 14 45.8 2 0 9.4 71.6 7.6 1 7 10 365 11 97.10% 4 8

Bench: Cameron Murray vs David Fifita
The rookie forwards have been solid so far in this series and have retained their place for all three games. Murray plays more minutes on average, makes more runs, metres, line breaks, tackle breaks, offloads and tackles than Fifita.

Pl Min Tries TA Runs Metres MPR LB TklBrk OL Tkl MT Tkl% Err PC
Murray 14 58.3 6 0.1 10.4 93.1 8.9 5 24 17 458 13 97.20% 8 11
Fifita 14 44 2 0.1 8.8 77.8 8.9 2 17 9 254 11 95.80% 2 2

In the head-to-head rankings (stats fields won), this is how the two sides compare:

Fullback: NSW 10-4
Wing: NSW 9-5
Centre: NSW 10-5
Centre: NSW 10-4
Wing: QLD 9-6
Five-eighth: QLD 9-6
Halfback: QLD 8-6
Prop: QLD 13-2
Hooker: NSW 10-5
Prop: NSW 10-5
Second row: NSW 13-2
Second row: QLD 10-7
Lock: QLD 9-8
Bench 1: QLD 9-7
Bench 2: NSW 10-7
Bench 3: NSW 10-6
Bench 4: NSW 10-6
Total: NSW 144-116

Backs (Including Bench 1): NSW 52-36
Halves: QLD 17-12
Forwards (Including Bench 2, 3 and 4): NSW 75-68
Spine (fullback, five-eighth, halfback, hooker): NSW 32-26

Daly Cherry-Evans

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The stats fields in the halves and forwards are closer now than they have been in the previous two encounters.

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The numbers still point towards a Blues victory, however with the series on the line, don’t be too hasty to dismiss the Maroons either. They’ve already showed this year that they can overcome the odds no matter how heavily they are stacked against them.