State of Origin heads to a decider with the New South Wales Blues significant favourites to win back-to-back series and build a dynasty.

Can The Maroons Win Without Ponga?

Kalyn Ponga is a key part to this Queensland side and his absence leaves a massive hole in their attacking structures.

While he did play in Game 2, Ponga was largely ineffective given the dominance New South Wales carried through the middle.

Queensland’s ceiling is higher with Ponga in the team when you consider the new face is Origin rookie, Corey Norman. However, there is every chance the Maroons improve at fullback.

Cameron Munster, despite not playing there since Round 1 last year, is one of the best fullbacks in the NRL. It’s only due to playing behind Billy Slater and since carving out a role in the halves that he hasn’t played there for most of his career. Should he line up in the number one jersey, the Maroons don’t lose anything in the fullback position itself.

How Norman copes in the halves as Munster’s replacement will decide things.

Is Luck On Fittler’s Side?

Yes.

100-percent, yes.

An injury to Michell Pearce gifted him Game 2 standout, James Maloney.

Payne Haas not being available forced him to select made-for-Origin forward, Dale Finucane.

Now, Tariq Sims has been suspended which brings David Klemmer into the side. Arguably the Blues best in Origin I and undoubtedly the number one prop in the state who would have otherwise been left out for “loyalty”.

Fittler has done some good things for the Blues. He’s reignited the Origin flame in New South Wales following a decade of mediocrity and disappointment. However, he’s not achieved that without a healthy dose of old fashioned good luck.

Can Pearce Change His Horror Origin Reputation?

Mitchel Pearce is back!

We’re going to know all about Fittler’s luck if Pearce plays a blinder.

Pearce’s history suggests he won’t and that Fittler’s luck may have run out here.

The Knights and now Blues halfback has lost all seven of the State of Origin Game 3’s he’s played in. Most worryingly, six of those seven games were series-deciders. While Pearce was unlucky to play the best Origin squad ever assembled, those a scars that never heal. Not only that, they’ll all be referred to and ripped right open throughout the build up.

He’s playing the best football of his career. But it’s not uncommon for Pearce to come into an Origin series hot. Playing so well early in a season is how he retained his spot in the side for so long. One game won’t change his reputation, though. If anything it may hurt if further. The cynics will be out to get him for riding a good team to a series victory should New South Wales win ($1.41).

Is the underdog tag fuel Maroons need?

There might not be a team in world sport that seeks and thrives on the underdog tag quite like the Maroons.

It’s the fuel that drives them. Despite a decade of dominance fielding perhaps the greatest team in Origin history, Queensland always found a way to argue their perceived underdog status.

They don’t need to try for Game 3, though. Out at $2.93 to win this one, there is no question that the Maroons go into the decider as significant underdogs.

While it is something that may spur the squad on and help get them through the week, it’s their dire performance in Game 2 that should act as Queensland’s true fuel. Diabolical and disinterested, the Maroons can’t afford a repeat on Wednesday night.

Are Points A Problem For Queensland?

The Maroons have scored just 24 points this series and haven’t scored more than 18 points since Game 3 in 2017.

Despite the players of attacking brilliance that move in and out of the squad, the inconsistencies in the spine have put a lid on their output in attack.

With another reshuffle on the cards for Game 3, Queensland’s struggles with the ball in hand look likely to stay.

Munster, Norman, Ben Hunt and Daly Cherry-Evans are all great players in their own right. It’s cohesion and experience of playing alongside each other that turns a group of talented individuals into a lethal spine.

Points are undoubtedly a problem for the Maroons. It’s unlikely they pile them up at a full ANZ Stadium. If Queensland are to cause an upset ($2.93), it will be on the back of their defence.

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