Could New South Wales have a better year to finally defeat Queensland in a series?
With speculation over the fitness of Billy Slater mounting, and the absence of Darren Lockyer in this year’s series, could the Blues finally end their seven year long wait for Origin success?
Let’s be honest, if it does happen, Queensland will not have been at the races. Similar to how they have been so far all series.
Their win in Melbourne in game one came on the back of the most controversial video refereeing decision in Origin history.
Greg Inglis broke the State of Origin try scoring record with that try, having supposedly only losing possession after Robbie Farah deliberately kicked it out of his hands.
New South Wales should have won that game in Melbourne. They were more physical than the Maroons. The Blues looked threatening in possession, and they stifled the majority of Queensland attacking plays with ease.
But despite outplaying the Maroons for a good hour, they fell short thanks to Inglis’ try.
For game two in Sydney, New South Wales again showed their dominance. This time they came away with the win, tying up the series one game apiece going into the decider at Suncorp Stadium.
Queensland lacked the composure, and the confidence, of previous series in that match. The injury to Billy Slater, which he played on with, did affect the Maroons but at times they were their own worse enemies.
Failing to take advantage of Akuila Uate’s multiple spilt balls cost the Maroons the win. They forced passes on the Blues line early in the tackle count, and the half back pairing of Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston does not appear to have the same cohesion as it did between Thurston and Lockyer.
So with that in mind, how will the Blues defeat the Maroons and prevent Queensland making it seven straight Origin series?
Having stubbornly stuck with Mitchell Pearce, who adds nothing to the side after seven consecutive appearances despite the chopping and changing of his five eighth partners in recent years, they have finally decided Todd Carney is the man suitable to play alongside him.
Hardly a Lockyer/Thurston partnership, but it seems to be working. Both the five eighth and half back are able to work off each other, create a platform and hammer the Queensland back line, an achievement that was near impossible two years ago.
But in the fiery cauldron of Suncorp, the site of the old Lang Park where King Wally Lewis would murder anybody in a Blue shirt, anything can happen. New South Wales have blown big matches under pressure at Suncorp Stadium before, and its more than likely they’ll do it again.
Whether that will be this year remains to be seen.