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Opinion

The Roar’s State of Origin expert tips and predictions: Queensland Maroons vs NSW Blues, Game 3, 2021

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Expert
12th July, 2021
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It might be a dead rubber, but realistically there is no such thing in Origin football as the Queensland Maroons attempt to avoid the dreaded broom for the first time in over 20 years against the New South Wales Blues.

This is The Roar’s State of Origin expert tipping panel.

Not for the first time this series, COVID has had its say again. A damning number of cases in Sydney, combined with tightening lockdowns, have forced the removal of the game from the state.

A game that was originally supposed to be held in Sydney, then shipped to Newcastle and finally arrived at the Gold Coast means that Queensland host all three games of the series.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t helped them so far, losing by a combined scoreline of 76 points to 6 in the opening two matches.

The Maroons will be desperate to avoid a home soil sweep, and will be aided by the return of Kalyn Ponga, as well as the losses of both Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary to injury, but New South Wales still go in as heavy favourites.

Queensland aren’t without their own difficulties, both Jai Arrow and David Fifita out due to a COVID breach and suspension respectively. It means Thomas Flegler joins a recalled Francis Molo on a heavy Queensland bench without prospects for the edges.

How the two teams have handled camp however, is anyone’s guess, given both teams have been cooped up in hotel rooms outside of training.

Game 2 saw The Barry and David both tip three, being women’s Origin, Game 2 and the first try-scorer. I had two with Tedesco picking up man of the match, while AJ, Mary and The Crowd all had one, just getting the Game 2 result right.

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It must come as a shock (yes, sarcasm!) but The Barry is leading Origin tipping on four. Everyone else is on three.

Be sure to get involved and be part of The Crowd’s tip for Origin 3 by using the form at the bottom of this article. We will close tipping and announce the results at around 7:30pm (AEST) on Wednesday evening ahead of kick-off.

David can lead us away here.

David Holden

Tip: New South Wales by 16

NSW haven’t had a clean sweep of Origin for 21 years. That feat would obviously be significant enough. But, now they have a chance to do what no Blues side has done before, and is highly unlikely to ever do again afterwards.

A possible clean sweep in Queensland. Game 3 is now on the Gold Coast. It wouldn’t surprise me if Annastacia shuts the border at Tweed Heads just for kicks, and those Maroon supporters left will make their way out to Robina.

So, motivation won’t be an issue for the Blues.

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NSW’s Penrith halves are both on the sideline, with Mitchell Moses and Jack Wighton getting the call-up. Dale Finucane comes up with Daniel Saifiti. AJ Brimson, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Kalyn Ponga come in for the Maroons. The sides on paper do look closer together this time around.

Jack Wighton of the Raiders offloads the ball

Can Jack Wighton recreate his club form at Origin level? (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

However, the NSW camp looks happy whilst the Queensland camp is a shambles. In a double-edged sword for the Maroons, they don’t have to move their camp ahead of the game, but they run the risk of more dancers jumping the protocol lines.

A happy camp is a winning camp, and I can see the Blues getting the job done here. It won’t be as pretty, but they will run away with a comfortable 16-point win.

I think James Tedesco will make it two Man of the Matches in a row and, although it will be close, he should pip Billy Slater for player of the series.

First try scorer could be anyone in the Blues backline, but I’m backing Latrell Mitchell to bag the first try.

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

Scott Pryde

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Tip: New South Wales by 8

I’m of the strong opinion that this won’t be as easy as the first two games for the Blues.

They are missing their star halves, who have contributed so much for the Panthers this year, and orchestrated the Origin attack beautifully.

Payne Haas not coming off the bench also concerns me about the middle third of the match from a Blues’ perspective. Dale Finucane is solid, but he doesn’t have the same level of intensity and ability to change a game or wrestle momentum away that Haas has.

Not only that, but Ponga being back makes me think Queensland’s attack will finally show something, even if not for the whole 80 minutes.

Kalyn Ponga

Kalyn Ponga. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Don’t get me wrong, Queensland won’t win. Their bench will let them down with Molo and Flegler on it, but they are going to be closer than they were in the first two.

I’ll take Isaah Yeo for first try. Call me crazy, but I have this feeling the game will be tight early and the first try is going to be in the middle third off a short ball from Damien Cook. Once things open up though, James Tedesco will get himself another man of the match.

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First try-scorer: Payne Haas
Man of the match: James Tedesco

AJ Mithen

Tip: New South Wales by 28

Here we are, up on the Gold Coast to give a dreadful State of Origin Series its final blow. I’m not big on ‘what if?’ thinking but I can’t get past Felise Kaufusi dropping the ball 20 out from the try line with the Maroons well and truly on the charge early on in Game 1. It killed their momentum and the rest is history. Would that change the result of the series though? Probably not. Queensland and Paul Green have had no answer for Freddie’s freewheelers as they dance all over them.

Nothing will change here, for reasons already noted in the opening two games. Queensland don’t have the speed, they don’t have the defensive nous and their attack has been insipid, to pay it a compliment.

They may be given a bit more leeway in the ruck now, but they still don’t have the speed of play and precision of play they need to cut New South Wales apart.

I’m hoping for a close game. I get the inkling application of the new rules might just take a back seat to keep things close on Wednesday, but at some stage the blue wall will endure.

First try-scorer: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
Man of the match: Jack Wighton

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The Barry

Tip: New South Wales by 16

With three games played in Queensland this year, a Blues win potentially puts this team in the conversation among the greatest Origin teams. Before Queenslanders start pinning this up on walls, no matter how dark things get for them, I still fear a Queensland ambush. 40 years of it has me as conditioned as one of Pavlov’s pooches.

It really is hard to see where a Queensland win comes from. Even the Queensland players minds seem elsewhere. Jai Arrow has been more focused on the dancing community than the Blues clean sweep. Cameron Munster’s recent play would have been more handy for England in their Wembley shootout than an Origin encounter. Poor old Ben Hunt can’t score an invite to his teammates barbecues.

I wonder if Cherry-Evans will be as glib about the worst Queensland team ever this year. At 6-76, this team is at risk of being the worst attacking team and the worst defensive team in Origin history.

If this NSW hubris is making maroon blood boil, I wouldn’t worry too much. With the post-try celebration fundraising for injured Mose Masoe capturing the public’s imagination, there’s talk the Blues could dust off the infamous hand grenade celebration. That should provide the next generation of Queensland players a decade of motivation.

First try-scorer: Josh Addo-Carr
Man of the match: Latrell Mitchell

Mary Konstantopoulos

Tip: New South Wales by 12

Both Queensland and New South Wales have different teams for this final State of Origin. Whilst Queensland will be bolstered by the return of Kalyn Ponga and New South Wales missing the likes of Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai, I’m still predicting a New South Wales win.

Whilst the forward packs have been able to match up well during this series, it is in the backs where New South Wales has done the damage. With Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic in career-best form, New South Wales will sweep the series by 12 points with a win in the final game.

First try will be scored by Josh Addo-Carr and Man of the match will be Tom Trbojevic.

First try-scorer: Josh Addo-Carr
Man of the match: Tom Trbojevic

Origin 3 AJ Mary David The Barry Scott Crowd
Tip NSW NSW NSW NSW NSW NSW
Margin 28 12 16 16 8 18
First try Tabuai-Fidow Addo-Carr Mitchell Addo-Carr Yeo Addo-Carr
MOTM Wighton Trbojevic Tedesco Mitchell Tedesco Tedesco
Origin 2 1 1 3 3 2 1
Total 3 3 3 4 3 3

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