The New South Wales Blues made it look easy in Game 2, but we know better than to rule the Queensland Maroons out of a State of Origin decider. The 2020 rugby league season looks set to end with the thriller at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
Queensland Maroons v New South Wales Blues @ Suncorp Stadium
|Corey Allan||5|1||James Tedesco|
|Valentine Holmes||1|2||Daniel Tupou|
|Dane Gagai||4|3||Clinton Gutherson|
|Brenko Lee||21|4||Jack Wighton|
|Edrick Lee||19|5||Josh Addo-Carr|
|Cameron Munster||6||Cody Walker|
|Daly Cherry-Evans||7||Nathan Cleary|
|Christian Welch||8||Daniel Saifiti|
|Jake Friend||9||Damien Cook|
|Josh Papalii||10||Payne Haas|
|Kurt Capewell||3|11||Angus Crichton|
|Felise Kaufusi||11|12||Tyson Frizell|
|Tino Fa’asuamaleaui||13||Jake Trbojevic|
|Harry Grant||14||Dale Finucane|
|Lindsay Collins||15||Junior Paulo|
|Jai Arrow||16||Nathan Brown|
|Jaydn Su’A||12|17||Isaah Yeo|
History: Played 119, Maroons 63, Blues 53
Last Meeting: Game 2, 2020: Blues 34 def. Maroons 10
Final Thoughts: We’ve seen this State of Origin movie before…Just like the 2019 series, the Queensland Maroons came out firing to cause an upset in Game 1 before the New South Wales Blues turned the screws in Game 2. Now we’re set for another decider.
Few seem to remember just how close Game 3 was last year. Moses Mbye took possession late with the scores locked at 20-20, and rather than concentrate on completing a quick play-the-ball, he chose to milk a penalty that wasn’t awarded. That took away the chance for Daly Cherry-Evans to pop a field goal. From there, James Tedesco and the Blues scored the series-winning try. While the Blues looked streaks ahead of the Maroons in Game 2 again this year, expect another close contest at fortress Suncorp in Game 3.
Queensland has named a new-look backline for the decider. Cousins Brenko and Edrick Lee link up in the backline while Corey Allan makes his Origin debut at fullback. Valentine Holmes has shifted to the wing and Kurt Capewell into the back row. The Lee’s provide Queensland with a stronger punch in attack on the left edge while Allan’s form at fullback for the Rabbitohs to end the NRL season gives them another excellent ball-player to use in their all-important shifts to the edges. Getting the ball wide early and often is likely to be an approach Queensland continues to employ in Game 3.
As expected, Brad Fittler has kept the same Blues 17 for this one. Piling up 34 points last week, Cody Walker and Nathan Cleary will be out to do much of the same while looking to build an early lead in the decider.
Josh Addo-Carr remains a short-priced favourite in the first and anytime try-scorer markets for this one at $7.50 and $1.67. He’s forming a lethal partnership with Cleary the longer the pair play together. Daniel Tupou ($9.50/$1.80) isn’t far behind his Blues teammate but it’s Valentine Holmes ($11/$2.20) that appeals for Maroons backers. He has scored eight tries in only six Origin appearances. While they came back in 2017 and 2018, few doubt his ability to finish off a sweeping shift. How he combines with Allan on the edge is crucial to Queensland’s success on Wednesday night.
Try-scorer odds: James Tedesco – $11/$2.20, Edrick Lee $12/$2.40, Jack Wighton $13/$2.50, Dane Gagai – $15/$2.88, Cody Walker – $15/$3, Clint Gutherson – $17/$3.40
For Queensland to create the same opportunities as Game 1, they first need to find metres through the middle. It’s where they struggled most in Game 2 as New South Wales created a 649-metre yardage advantage. Christian Welch’s return is an underrated aspect of this Queensland squad. So too is 80 minutes of Cameron Munster after he left the field inside two minutes last week. This is the best looking 17 the underdogs have sent out this series and it shows in their $2.93 and +6.5 line – in from $3.20 and +8.5 last week. Add the fact that a packed Suncorp Stadium will be there to greet them at kickoff, and we have the makings of a thriller to end the 2020 rugby league season.
Still, this is New South Wales’ game to lose. They have the superior side and the form to boost. Damien Cook has been electric behind a strong pack with the backline producing the points when required. The blueprint for success is clear: Play short and sharp through the middle early in the set, shrink the opposition defensive line, and send it out wide to finish.
It took the Blues a game to get into the swing of things. That’s something Brad Fittler needs to fix for the 2021 series following back-to-back Game 1 defeats. But for now, the Blues have a dynasty at the end of their fingertips. One that will start to heal the wounds of Queensland dominance past. Nobody needs reminding of what the Maroons can produce with their backs against the wall. They will leave no stone unturned as they search for ways to cause what would be a monumental upset. However, the Blues should have enough points in them to lift the shield in a close one to wrap up the 2020 State of Origin series.