Sports writer, JASON OLIVER, previews this week’s Rugby League action with his tips for State of Origin Game 3. You’re up, Mitchell Pearce!

New South Wales Blues v Queensland Maroons @ ANZ Stadium
Wednesday 10th July, 8:10pm

James Tedesco1Cameron Munster
Blake Ferguson2Corey Oates
Tom Trbojevic3Michael Morgan
Jack Wighton4Will Chambers
Josh Addo-Carr5Dane Gagai
James Maloney6Corey Norman
Mitchell Pearce7Daly Cherry-Evans
Daniel Saifiti8Joe Ofahengaue
Damien Cook9Ben Hunt
Paul Vaughan10Josh Papalii
Boyd Cordner11Felise Kaufusi
Tyson Frizell12Matt Gillett
Jake Trbojevic13Josh McGuire
Dale Finucane14Moses Mbye
David Klemmer15Christian Welch
Cameron Murray16Tim Glasby
Wade Graham17David Fifita

Played 113, Blues 52, Maroons 62

Last Meeting: Game 2, 2019: Blues 38 def. Maroons 6

Final Thoughts: As far as State of Origin deciders go, this is one of the most interesting in recent years.

The Blues are significant $1.39 favourites which sounds like it could end up a fizzer. Game 3 will be anything but boring, though. Despite the markets not giving the Maroons ($3.03) much of a chance, this is Origin. Anything can happen, including a monumental upset.

New South Wales have hardly thrived in deciders recently. Sure, Queensland fielded perhaps the best Origin side ever throughout the run, but New South Wales have lost each of the last seven Game 3’s that had the series riding on it. The much-maligned Mitchell Pearce is 0-7 in Game 3’s himself and his influence on this one could be the difference between winning and losing.

Will we get Newcastle Knights and ball-dominant Pearce, or Blues Origin Pearce that has a lowlights reel longer than any other?

How They Line Up

Brad Fittler caught a break with Tariq Sims getting suspended. David Klemmer is back in the side – as he should be – and is named to come off the bench. How Fittler thought leaving the state’s best prop out of the side is mind-boggling, but the correct selection has come about in the end.

The selection up for debate is that of Pearce. He replaces Nathan Cleary who, let’s be honest, has shown some Pearce-like tendencies in the Origin arena himself. At 30-years old and playing the best footy of his career, Pearce has a chance to redeem his representative reputation if he can leave his fingerprints on a Game 3 win.

Queensland’s squad looks difference to Game 2, and could change again by kickoff.

Christian Welch has earned a much-deserved call-up to the Maroons while Ethan Lowe could do the same. Matt Gillett is in doubt and may not be ready by Wednesday night. Meanwhile, Moses Mbye has been named to come off the bench in a utility role, but has also been rumoured to be starting in the centres. Should that change come about, there is every chance Munster is back to the halves, Micheal Morgan to fullback, and Corey Norman (in for Kalyn Ponga) to the bench.

At this stage, nobody – perhaps not even Kevin Walters himself – is sure of how the Maroons will run out to start Game 3.

State of Origin Markets

At $1.39 and -6.5, the Blues are expected to win and win comfortably.

With the total set at just 34.5 points, there isn’t too much room for potential try scorers.

As expected, Josh Addo-Carr is the favourite to score at $1.91. His partner on the right wing, Blake Ferguson, is on the second line of betting to $2 to score anytime. Queensland’s wing pairing of Corey Oates ($2.38) and Dane Gagai ($2.40) are next on the list. However, Tom Trbojevic looks the best value at $2.50. After scoring three tries in Game 2, Trbojevic starts in the centres but will no doubt play in a roaming role again. There is also a chance he is running up against Mbye which only adds to the value at $2.50.

If you believe in fairytales, Pearce to win the Man of the Match award is at an appealing $8.

Tip: Winner/Anytime Tryscorer Double – NSW Win/T. Trbojevic to Score $2.80