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New South Wales
New South Wales
The New South Wales Blues go up against the Queensland Maroons in State of Origin Game 1. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of Origin 1 from 8:10pm (AEDT).
There’s plenty which is different about this year’s Origin series: the Blues are almost unbackable favourites, it’s being played in November, and it will all kick off tonight in South Australia, with the famous Adelaide Oval hosting the series opener. It’s the first time State of Origin has ever been played at the venue.
There’s a gulf in experience between these two sides. New South Wales have just the three debutants, one of whom (Luke Keary) has already played for Australia, and another (Clint Gutherson) who was just a single vote away from winning the Dally M this year. Starting prop Junior Paulo is the other first-gamer.
Gutherson is perhaps one weakness in the side, though. With Tom Trbojevic out injured, the Parramatta captain has been picked out of position in the centres, and the Maroons could well run some traffic his way to try to exploit any potential defensive frailties.
The rest of the backline looks imposing, with James Tedesco at fullback, Daniel Tupou and Josh Addo-Carr on the wings, Jack Wighton partnering Gutherson in the centres, and Keary lining up alongside Nathan Cleary in the halves.
Contrast that to the Maroons, who only have four backs with Origin experience. Lacking much Origin knowledge elsewhere, it will be critical for halfback and captain Daly Cherry-Evans and five-eighth Cameron Munster to control the game together.
Kurt Capewell is a matchday addition to the side in the centres for the injured Brenko Lee.
The packs look a little more evenly matched. Josh Papalii and Christian Welch are the Queensland props, and their matchup against Paulo and Daniel Saifiti could well dictate the tone of the match.
The experienced trio of Boyd Cordner, Tyson Frizell and Jake Trbojevic line up from 11-13 for the Blues, while the Maroons have Felise Kaufusi, Coen Hess and Tino Faasuamaleaui opposite them.
Fraught as writing off the Maroons can be, it’s really, really hard to tip against New South Wales here. Yes, they tend to not perform so well as favourites – and they had their pants pulled down in Game 1 last year – but there’s such a gulf in Origin experience between the two sides.
If Brad Fittler’s forwards win the battle up front, or even just hold it to a draw, then there’s too much class out wide in the backline for the Blues to not outscore Queensland.
The only area of the backs where the Maroons may have the advantage is at six and seven, but even then, Nathan Cleary is much improved to when he last played Origin and Luke Keary is a star.
In short, it’s gotta be the Blues.
New South Wales by 16.
Be sure to join The Roar for all your State of Origin scores, live commentary and highlights right here from 8:10pm (AEDT).
Kick-off: 8:10pm (AEDT)
Venue: Adelaide Oval
TV: Live, Channel Nine
Online: Live, 9Now
Betting: Maroons $1.95, Blues $1.85
Overall record: Played 117, Maroons 62, Blues 53, drawn 2
Last meeting: Game 3, 2019 – NSW 26 def. QLD 20 at ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Last year’s series: New South Wales 2 – Queensland Maroons 1
Record at venue: N/A
Referees: Gerard Sutton
1. James Tedesco, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Clint Gutherson, 4. Jack Wighton, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Luke Keary, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. Daniel Saifiti, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Boyd Cordner (c), 12. Tyson Frizell, 13. Jake Trbojevic
Bench: 14. Cody Walker, 15. Payne Haas, 16. Cameron Murray, 17. Angus Crichton
1. AJ Brimson, 2. Xavier Coates, 18. Kurt Capewell, 4. Dane Gagai, 5. Phillip Sami, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8. Christian Welch, 9. Jake Friend, 10. Josh Papalii, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Coen Hess, 13. Tino Faasuamaleaui
Bench: 14. Ben Hunt, 15. Lindsay Collins, 16. Jai Arrow, 17. Jaydn Su’A