What: State of Origin II
Who: Queensland v NSW
When: Wednesday, July 9 – 8.10pm (or whenever Channel 9 decides to start)
Where: Suncorp Stadium
I can watch it on: Channel 9
Form guide (last 6):
Things you need to know:
Apart from their annual brush with authorities at a late night drinking hole, Queensland have enjoyed a drama-free preparation. Unlike game two, there have been no casualty concerns apart from the usual 'JT injury scare' line that is thrown out before each Origin. Thurston has managed 29 Origins unbroken so we reckon he will be okay. Cooper Cronk's return is the biggest plus for Queensland. NSW have hidden behind the Big Banana in Coffs for most of this lead-in and only hit turbulence when the supply of the crispy bacon rashes ran out on at the breakfast buffet on day three. Blocker Roach admitted his guilt and a major controversy was averted. Game three warriors Anthony Watmough, Michael Jennings and Will Hopoate are absent. Boyd Cordner, Josh Morris and James McManus come in.
Reason to watch:
The Maroons thought the winning run would go on forever. Heck, they even added 2014 to the list of successful campaigns on the side of the team bus. Oops. You'd have to think their pride would be hurting and the prospect of losing 3-zip would cut them deeper than being turned away from the Down Under bar at Happy Hour.
Reason to turn away:
No matter how much both camps want to talk it up, there is a touch of flatness around this game due to the series being decided. Even the parochial Queensland public, who would rather give up Bundy for breakfast than miss an Origin, are not buying up tickets with their usual enthusiasm. If the players don't fully buy in then it could be a fizzer, especially with little hope of a stink breaking out.
Say what: "...................................." – Mal Meninga does his bit for Origin promotion by brushing the pre-game press conference.
You would have to assume Queensland have just that little bit more to play for than NSW. Watching the Blues lift the shield at fulltime is going to be hard enough to stomach, doubly so if the series reads 3-0. The Blues are saying and doing all the right things but their biggest challenge is getting themselves up after the emotion of Sydney. Both side will rip in at the start like it's 1-1 but we expect Mal's men to dig that little deeper when the game is in the balance. Maroons by 8
Queensland - $1.57
NSW - $2.45