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State of Origin Preview – Game 3

The 2023 State of Origin series wraps up in Sydney on Wednesday night. Queensland already has the shield in their keeping after emphatic performances in the first two games, but the term ‘dead-rubber’ is a misnomer and NSW will be just as desperate to avoid a cleansweep as the visitors are to achieve it. 

State of Origin Tips – New South Wales V Queensland

20:05 (AEST), Wed 12th Jul @ Accor Stadium, Sydney

History: Played 128, Queensland 69, New South Wales 57, draws 2

Last Five Matches:

  • Game 1, 2022 – Queensland 16 def NSW 10 at Accor Stadium, Sydney
  • Game 2, 2022 – NSW 44 def Queensland 12 at Optus Stadium, Perth
  • Game 3, 2022 – Queensland 22 def NSW 12 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
  • Game 1, 2023 – Queensland 26 def NSW 18 at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
  • Game 2, 2023 – Queensland 32 def NSW 6 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Team news

New South Wales have rung the changes – some enforced, some on form and several baffling – to take their tally of players used in the series to a whopping 28. From the Blues’ game two squad, Payne Haas and Tom Trbojevic are out injured, while Jarome Luai, starting second-rowers Tyson Frizell and Hudson Young, prop Junior Paulo and bench debutant Stefano Utoikamanu have all been dropped. Knights centre Bradman Best and Rabbitohs second-rower Keaon Koloamatangi have earned debut call-ups, Cody Walker gets a recall alongside Mitch Moses in the halves, Jake Trbojevic and Regan Campbell-Gillard – both unavailable at the start of the series due to injury – will start in the front-row, and Liam Martin and Cameron Murray have been promoted to the starting pack. Isaah Yeo drops back to a bench that also features the recalled Jacob Saifiti and Clint Gutherson.

Queensland have been forced into a couple of alterations by suspension and injury. Reece Walsh’s contentious ban sees AJ Brimson return for his fourth Origin appearance at fullback in an otherwise unchanged backline, with Xavier Coates retaining a spot ahead of Selwyn Cobbo. Tom Flegler is out injury, opening the door for Canberra firebrand Corey Horsburgh to debut off the bench.

What we like

Only one of the last seven game threes and two of the last 13 Origins in Sydney have produced totals of more than 34 points – despite the opening two matches going over the total line, the under ($1.90) is great option with the line set at 41.5. Queensland haven’t had trouble racking up points in this series, but they posted more than 20 points in the last 13 matches at Accor Stadium; consider the Maroons to score under 21.5 ($1.93).

In the tryscoring stakes, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow already has three for the series and has to be considered strong anytime value at $2.75. Xavier Coates dotted down in game two and has been in hot NRL form – he’s $2.10 to score again and $6.75 to grab a double. Valentine Holmes ($2.95 anytime, $13 to score two or more) picked up a double in game two to take his Origin career tally to 13 from 15 matches. Cody Walker’s addition brings Josh Addo-Carr ($2.35 anytime, $8.50 to score two or more) into the mix despite a quiet series to date. Walker ($3.30) and Best ($3.50) are decent value anytime tryscorer options in the Blues’ line-up.

Daly Cherry-Evans ($11), Patrick Carrigan ($18), Walker ($9) and Cameron Murray ($21) are strong man of the match contenders.

Finals thoughts

Queensland is chasing only the second Origin whitewash since 2000, meaning seven of the last dead-rubber game threes have been won by the team that had already lost the series. But it would take a major turnaround for $2.25 underdogs NSW to avoid a 3-0 defeat – and there’s a big question mark over whether the Blues have found the balance at the selection table between injecting in-form, fresh talent and destabilising the squad.

NSW’s attack has been cumbersome and disjointed in both matches so far, despite a welter of scoring opportunities. Two of the Blues’ three tries in the series opener were opportunistic, meaning they’ve only put together two genuinely decent pieces of attacking plays that have paid off. Meanwhile their ability to repel Queensland’s attacking raids has been well below par at this level.

The Maroons’ success has been built on sheer effort and an amazing penchant – on both sides of the ball – to produce the right play in big moments. Walsh is a big loss given the level of his performances in the first two matches, but there’s no shortage of playmaking class or firepower in the Queensland line-up. They don’t seem a team that is likely to put the cue in the rack, as can often happen in dead-rubber Origins, while the Blues don’t look to have picked the right cattle capable of reversing the champs’ irresistible momentum.

Related

Top 4 Deciders in State of Origin History

The last five times NSW Blues won an Origin game at Suncorp Stadium

State of Origin: Game 3 Preview

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