Game three of the State of Origin series will head to Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium tonight with the Queensland Maroons looking to salvage some pride after already losing the series in NSW.
The future looks bright for the New South Wales Blues after conquering the Maroons dynasty. After years of humiliation and failing to match the quality of the Queensland Maroons side, the NSW Blues currently lead the series, having won the first two matches.
Despite this series starting with Queensland as the underdogs, playing for the first time without star players Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater, the Blues completing a clean sweep in the series is not something many predicted or thought would happen.
The New South Wales Blues have very little pressure going into the third and final match of the 2018 State of Origin series, having already won the first two games.
The team’s squad remains the same except Tariq Sims will make his Origin debut replacing Matt Prior. Sims has been ever so close to playing for the Blues, being 18th man for the previous matches.
"He has had his setbacks along the way as well and some people would have fallen away from the game, but he fell towards it."#uptheblues
📝 https://t.co/Dm9KrA4jzo pic.twitter.com/5RuAWtp01U
— NSWBlues (@NSWBlues) July 5, 2018
For the Blues to win, it will be all about replicating their form from the previous two matches. After years of changing teams and player combinations, the approach that Brad Fittler has adopted has proven to be a success. If the Blues are able to replicate the performances in games at the MCG and ANZ Stadium, a 3-0 clean sweep looms likely.
Despite the Queensland Maroons having already lost the 2018 State of Origin series, there is plenty to play for in front of what will be a packed Suncorp Stadium.
Daly Cherry-Evans’ origin career has been given a second chance as he replaces Ben Hunt in the number 7 jersey. Hunt will be used as a utility off the bench and the Queensland side looks to add some creativity to their attack.
For the Maroons to be successful in game three, recalled player Cherry-Evans is the man who will need to make the team his own. If Cherry-Evans is to put in a big performance the Maroons may be able to salvage some pride in front of their home crowd.
Nathan Cleary v Daly Cherry-Evans. Cherry-Evans’ representative career has been resurrected after being given the nod over Ben Hunt for the No.7 Maroons jersey. This selection comes after Hunt’s poor game 2 performance in New South Wales. Cherry-Evans has not played representative football since 2015 but now has an opportunity to cement a permanent place in the Queensland side, providing the Maroons are able to avoid a series whitewash. Now that the series is now secured for NSW, rookie half Nathan Cleary might be able to play with a bit more freedom. Cleary has been extremely strong defensively during the first two matches which has added to his already strong skill set in NRL games. In previous games at club level, Cleary has allowed his fellow teammate James Maloney to run the show. However, due to his game developing at a rapid pace, he has shown he can take control in crucial parts of the games. Cleary has been predicted to be the NSW halfback for the next 5+ years, so Cherry-Evans will definitely have to prove himself if he is to dominate the in-form NSW halves.
James Tedesco, Tom Trbojevic, Latrell Mitchell, James Roberts, Josh Addo-Carr, James Maloney, Nathan Cleary, David Klemmer, Damien Cook, Paul Vaughan, Boyd Cordner, Tyson Frizell, Jack de Belin
Interchange: Tariq Sims (Debut), Jake Trbojevic, Angus Crichton, Tyrone Peachey, Ryan James.
Billy Slater, Valentine Holmes, Dane Gagai, Will Chambers, Corey Oates, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jai Arrow, Andrew McCullough, Josh Papalii, Gavin Cooper, Felise Kaufusi, Josh McGuire.
Interchange: Ben Hunt, Jarrod Wallace, Coen Hess, Tim Glasby.
Featured Image: @Michale Shiel Flickr