Queensland and New South Wales find themselves in a winner takes all battle in game three of State of Origin.
It is situation we have seen so often in an Origin series over the years and if history is anything to go by then it will certainly not be a surprise to see a match of epic proportions here.
A win for New South Wales will see them win three series in a row for the first time since 2003-05 but if they are to do it then they will have to do something that they have not been able to do often and that is win a decider in Queensland territory. After game two, the momentum and form remain with the Blues as Nathan Cleary hit back at his critics with an inspiring display but the Queensland fortress that is Suncorp Stadium can prove to be the biggest of obstacles. The Maroons have that home advantage and need to look back to that first game win that saw them completely restrict New South Wales in the second half.
Queensland: Holmes; Coates, Capewell, Gagai, Allan; Munster, Cherry-Evans; Welch, Friend, Papalii, Kaufusi, Su’A, Fa’asuamaleaui. Subs: Grant, Collins, Arrow, Lui. Reserves: B Hunt, E Lee, Fotuaika, B Lee.
New South Wales: Tedesco; Tupou, Gutherson, Wighton, Addo-Carr; Walker, Cleary; Saifiti, Cook, Haas, A Crichton, Frizell, J Trbojevic. Subs: Finucane, Paulo, Brown, Yeo. Reserves: Papenhuyzen, Luai, McInnes, Cotric.
Even though he was forced off after two minutes into game two due to a head knock, Cameron Munster has been named at stand-off for the Maroons. Despite being initially named to start on the wing, Xavier Coates is set to miss out with a groin injury with Wayne Bennett confirming that debutant Corey Allan will move from the flank to full-back and Val Holmes will switch from full-back to take up the vacant wing role left by Coates.
If passed fit, Brenko Lee would also make his debut in the centres while Kurt Capewell makes the switch into the second-row. Christian Welch is back in the front-row after missing game two and youngster Harry Grant will also make his Origin debut as he has been named on the interchange.
There are no changes to the New South Wales 17 that saw victory in Sydney last week. The only changes remain in the reserves as Clive Churchill Medal winner Ryan Papenhuyzen moves into the reserves. Josh Addo-Carr is nursing a toe injury but still looks set to start on the wing come Wednesday.
If game two’s interaction between Queensland’s Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and New South Wales’ Payne Haas is anything to go by then we could be in for some extremely compelling viewing come game three. The pair echoed fierce Origin battles of the past in game two as a rivalry came to a boiling point with both players involved in a melee. They also stand as two of the most exciting young forwards in the game today with their high intensity and work rate a joy to watch and it should not come as a surprise to see plenty of eyes on their match up come Wednesday.
Ones to watch
When it comes to Origin there has been one player for Queensland who seems to take his game to another level every time he puts on that Maroons jersey and that is Dane Gagai. The 29-year-old has 11 tries in 15 appearances for his state and has been one of the side’s biggest threats on the backline since 2015. Now, with the 2020 series set to go to a decider, the South Sydney man will no doubt be called upon again to showcase his hard running and exceptional try scoring ability.
After a quiet first game, Nathan Cleary came roaring back in game two with an inspirational performance to lead the Blues to a dominant win at Sydney. With game three set to take place in Queensland territory plus the fact New South Wales do not have the best record when it comes to Origin deciders mean there will again be plenty of pressure and eyes on the 23-year-old star.
Where and when
Wednesday, November 18 – 9.10am (UK time)
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
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