State of Origin Game 1
Queensland Vs New South Wales
31 May 2017, 8:10pm.
Well it’s the best time of year, Queensland Vs New South Wales, Mate Vs Mate, State Vs State! It is arguably the greatest time to be a fan of this great game, with every person picking a team and getting behind them 100%.
A team full of immortals for the last 11 years, has been forced into changes due to a horror injury toll and players left out of selection. Qld will be with out J. Thurston (many NSW fans still believe he will play until the final team lists are named), G. Inglis , M. Scott, C. Parker (retired) and B. Slater (controversial admission). It’s a new look Qld team but what has not changed in 40 Origin games is their captain and NRL legend C. Smith. With his General C. Cronk by his side and D. Boyd sweeping around the back from set plays, it’s still a very formidable team.
A lot of the spot light has been on A. Milford this week, with a lot of questions about his kicking game and he will be tested in defence with the NSW second rowers charging at him. Milford is a great player in broken play, traditionally in game 1, it’s a tight affair and low scoring, will he get a broken line in defence? Time will tell, he will need to be at his best to try and help Smith and Cronk to deliver another first game win.
With B. Slater being omitted, pressure shifts to D. Boyd and C. Oates who were the incumbents of last year and Coach Walters made the tough call on them. Coach Walters didn’t want to put Slater under huge pressure for a Game 1 in origin. It could be argued that B. Slater is the greatest Full back to ever have pulled on the No.1 jumper at any level. However, D. Boyd is in great form for his club and did represent Australia earlier in the year, in our opinion, Coach Walters made the correct call. What this does however is place C. Oates under immense pressure and that worries us. He hasn’t been at his best but the Qld Camp seems to make players grow an inch or two for the big games.
New South Wales
Once again New South Wales have tinkered with their team as they search for a First game victory to try and stem the Qld onslaught of the last 11 years. The return of M. Pearce and exclusion of R. Farah for N. Peats are the biggest talking points in game 1. Coach Daley has made these moves based on the form of M. Pearce and sending a message to his team that he wants his halves to run the shots.
Pearce is arguably in the greatest form of his career, he has not performed in origin, but he’s payed his dues and now it’s his time to stand up. He will get more early service from Peats and this will help him no end. He also has his old partner in crime J. Maloney, who can ease the pressure on him if required.
What is exciting for us, is the mixture of age, talent and in form players. It’s arguably NSW best forward pack in many a year with the majority of players able to play the 80 minutes in club games. The options in attack have grown 10 fold with the Edge Back rowers able to kick and deliver passes if required. With the middle of the field being the gauge of who will win, NSW have taken big steps to combat the experience Qld middle players, it’s just mouth watering to wait and see.
The spotlight for us will be on J. Tedesco. He has been holding the West Tigers team together and busting his guts week in week out for no result. For NSW sake we hope he can be at his best working off the back of his forwards (who will be 100 times better than his club level). He has looked tired the last few weeks, but he has been carrying a heavy load, in this team he will be able to relax more and play his natural game which is slicing and dicing defensive structures. A lot of talk also about N. Peats, for us he will play a straight game and deliver early ball to his halves, simple play to allow his backs to do their work.
Both teams are expected to be named 1-17, however if you speak to the NSW die hard fans they still believe Thurston is a chance until the final team lists are announced an hour before the game.
Their last 6 game report card:
2016 – Game 3 – NSW won by 4 at ANZ stadium
2016 – Game 2 – QLD won by 10 at Suncorp Stadium
2016 – Game 1 – QLD won by 2 at ANZ stadium
2015 – Game 3 – Qld won by 46 at Suncorp Stadium
2015 – Game 2 – NSW won by 8 at Melbourne Cricket Ground
2015 – Game 1 – Qld won by 1 at ANZ stadium
What we take from this?
It’s a simple equation in origin, if you win game 1 you have a 74% chance of winning the series since the conception of State of Origin. Home ground advantage is a massive component in origin as well, this first game is in QLD which leans us to a QLD victory. C. Smith and C. Cronk are the Key, C. Smith is able to influence the ruck and game speed better than any other player to date. With his ability to read the game is second to none and we aren’t sure how NSW can combat this. The only series NSW has won in the last decade, was when C. Cronk did not play all the games, he is often overlooked in this great team, but he is the best Half back in the modern era. Watch his control off the back of his forwards and his ability to deliver the fatal pass/kick, well, there is none better.
For Us Qld win the game, with a lot of team changes we aren’t trying to cap the total or margin, it seems unbelievable that Qld have moved to the below odds.
GL and enjoy this great contest.
Winner – Qld $2.10 (Ladbrokes)
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