Boyd Cordner has been retained as captain in a Kangaroos merit team that features emerging NRL premiership-winning stars Tino Fa’asumaleaui and Ryan Papenhuyzen.
A decider! This is what Origin rivalries and tales are made of. Suncorp Stadium, full capacity and an underdog Queensland team looking to send NSW home with their tails between their legs in Game 3. Let’s see who The Roar’s State of Origin expert tipping panel have got for Game 3.
Queensland might have got the series underway with a victory a fortnight ago in Adelaide that shocked the pants off just about everyone (bar AJ), but they weren’t so fortunate when the series returned to Sydney last Wednesday.
It was deja vu for the Blues, who cruised to a massive victory as they had done in 2019, when Game 2 was held in Perth.
Six changes for Brad Fittler saw his side roll over the Maroons as if they weren’t even there at times, the new-look halves combination of Nathan Cleary and Cody Walker playing excellent games on the back of a forward pack led by the promoted Payne Haas.
The win might leave the Maroons behind in the momentum stakes, but they have home advantage the decider and are always difficult to beat north of the border.
That challenge will be made even tougher for the Blues by the fact Queensland will allow a capacity crowd.
While the Blues are unchanged, Wayne Bennett has mixed things up, bringing Corey Allan in for Phillip Sami, Harry Grant in for Ben Hunt, and welcoming back Christian Welch, who indirectly replaces Moeaki Foutaika, with Dunamis Lui punted to the bench.
On the tipping front I’ve gone to the lead thanks to Nathan Cleary taking out man of the match honours. AJ was wound in because he tipped Queensland, while we all got women’s Origin right.
Remember to get your tips into the form below by 6pm (AEDT) on Wednesday to be featured as part of the Crowd’s tips for Origin 3.
Tip: Queensland by one
Man of the match: Josh Papalii
First try-scorer: Josh Papalii
Here we are, the final rugby league tipping piece for 2020.
I can’t speak for all these other minor placegetters but I’ve had a phenomenal year of fun, heartache and ultimately success built on unbridled, uncontained and unstoppable tipping excellence. It’s fitting I go out on top with a simple, plain entry.
Queensland will sneak home in front of a packed house, Josh Papalii’s mullet will be awarded man of the match and the big fluffy fella will score a crash-over first try. I love you all, and I hope you all have a safe and happy non-rugby league period!
Tip: New South Wales by 12
Man of the match: James Tedesco
First try-scorer: James Tedesco
There’s nothing tougher than heading up to Queensland for a decider, but this year the task will be made even harder because the Blues have to fly in, fly out and there will be little support for them in the crowd.
Despite that, the Blues will win the decider by 12 points.
The NSW team is superior almost across the park, and with James Tedesco in exceptional form and the halves combination keeping Queensland out of the game last week through their kicking game, the Blues will be too strong.
First try-scorer and player of the match will be Tedesco.
Tip: Queensland by eight
Man of the match: Cameron Munster
First try-scorer: Dane Gagai
I’m sure we have seen this before.
You know, the one where Queensland win the first game narrowly, the Blues look like world-beaters in Game 2 and we head to Suncorp Stadium for a winner-takes-all match-up.
NSW fans go into the decider full of hope, but those dreams are cruelly crushed by the Maroons. The Blues team bus crosses the Bermuda triangle cruising down Caxton Street and Queensland romp away to an unexpected series win.
And what’s worse this year? The government allow a full house but no Sydneysiders. Suncorp Stadium has a capacity of just over 50,000, and it’ll be chockers with Queenslanders. According to Paul Gallen’s theory, that’s at least 100,000 heads yelling “Queenslander”.
I expect it to be too much for the Blues. The Maroons lost a lot in attack and defence when Cameron Munster left Origin 2 and he will put on a show, so I will pick him for best player on the field. Queensland by eight.
Dane Gagai always plays way beyond himself at Origin time and will score first.
Tip: Queensland by four
Man of the match: Josh Papalii
First try-scorer: Josh Addo-Carr
I’ve tossed and turned on this game all week. At the end of it all, I’m tipping head over heart and desperately hoping I’ve got it wrong – which, given my tipping record this year, wouldn’t blow anyone’s hair back. Here’s why:
You can argue that Queensland’s collective performance in Games 1 and 2 taking into account venues, scorelines and travel restrictions has been better in 2020 than it was last year. After more comprehensive performances, it took NSW until the 80th minute to win at home last year.
Then you consider other historical factors:
Only two NSW sides have ever won Game 3 deciders at Lang Park and they were two of the all-time great Blues outfits, in 1994 and 2005.
That suggest a NSW series win will be an all-time, Herculean effort. I’m not convinced this side is quite that good. Hopefully, I’m eating these words at 10:30pm on Wednesday night.
Tip: New South Wales by eight
Man of the match: James Tedesco
First try-scorer: Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
There is nothing better than a live Origin decider, even if it is being played in mid-November. COVID has done crazy things to every part of the world and rugby league is no different.
Thankfully, it’s only going to be mid-20s come kick-off, but that won’t change the fact this has the potential to go either way.
The Blues are the better side on paper, and even playing in Brisbane they carry an enormous amount of momentum out of last week’s clash.
They rolled away with that game, and it genuinely looked like the difference most of us had expected coming into the series. They hammered Queensland in the middle third with Haas leading the way, they had space out wide, and they were on fire through Cleary, Walker and Tedesco.
Any one of the three could have taken man of the match honours, but even more than that the difference in the two teams’ back threes became evident with Daniel Tupou, Tedesco and Josh Addo-Carr running for a mountain of metres when compared to their opposition.
All those differences aren’t going to do a 180-degree turn in the space of seven days, and while the Maroons might be better than what they showed last week, it’s hard to see them flipping the result completely.
Munster being fit could play a pivotal role in their chances of doing so but even then, the difference in Sydney was so great that one player won’t reverse it.
I’ll take Tedesco for man of the match this time, but Queensland to get the first try through young gun Tino Fa’asuamaleaui.
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Be sure to get your tips in on the form below by 6pm on Wednesday. We will publish the results of the Crowd’s tips before kick-off.