2018 NRL State Of Origin III Preview

Can the Maroons avoid a sweep or will NSW reign supreme?

NRL Tips expert Steve Green weighs in on State of Origin III. The series may be dead but that won’t matter when the first whistle goes and the two arch-enemies go at it once more.

I hate dead rubber Origin matches and as much as it will never happen (due to the forgone revenue!), I don’t think the third game should be played if the series is already wrapped up.

Teams should not have the risk of losing key players for a dead rubber rep game. I am all for the primacy of Origin, but only while the series is alive.

Heading into Game 3, the NRL spruikers are in overdrive trying to conjure up reasons why this game matters. I know calling this match a dead-rubber might not get you pumped for the game, but it is worth being honest with ourselves so that we can properly analyse the betting market and identify any value.

To give some context to the Blues approach: Boyd Cordner hadn’t trained all week by the weekend, but the Blues still released Ryan James to play for the Titans against the Broncos yesterday, and he will now return to camp as cover for Cordner.

If this game was a decider, that wouldn’t happen.

As for QLD, the loss of Ponga is massive! I am still in awe at what the kid did in Game 2 with his toughness and adaptability – two new skills I didn’t know he had in spades.

Along with Inglis missing, as well as Morgan’s long-term injury and the recent retirements of Cronk, Thurston and Smith, and you can see why the bookies have NSW favourite for this one.

I think Coach Walters has been dealt a cruel blow, but he has responded as well as possible. Oates and DCE needed to get a run, as both players have been dominant at NRL level all year. Moving Hunt to reserve dummy-half could create some attacking spark around the ruck, something they have sorely missed in first two games.

But the pressure will be on the likes of Napa, Hess, Arrow and Wallace to lift for this game and give the likes of Papalii, McGuire and Cooper the help the needed to win this one.

In particular, Arrow and Wallace will have a lot of pressure on them due to their inability to convert their stellar NRL form into Origin form. Out of all those guys, Arrow is the one I think will really step up and deliver on Wednesday night.

But the pressure will be on the likes of Napa, Hess, Arrow and Wallace to lift for this game and give the likes of Papalii, McGuire and Cooper the help the needed to win this one.

In particular, Arrow and Wallace will have a lot of pressure on them due to their inability to convert their stellar NRL form into Origin form. Out of all those guys, Arrow is the one I think will really step up and deliver on Wednesday night.

I think QLD have improved as the season has gone on, with the Maroons really blowing their opportunity in Game 2 to send it to a tiebreaker.

The Maroons made far more metres than the Blues and made 5 line breaks compared to the Blues 3 line breaks. Most of the other stats were pretty equal, however a clear difference can be seen in the goal kicking.

The Blues went 3/3, whereas QLD missed 2 out of their 3 kicks…which ended up being the difference. Once again in Game 3, I think goal kicking could be the difference.

One area where the Blues have shown they have an edge throughout this series, can be seen in the missed tackles each team has made.

So far this series, QLD has missed 85 tackles, compared to the Blues 52. That is a clear defensive edge and with ball runners like Mitchell, Addo-Carr, Tedesco etc…, it is not hard to see why the Blues are breaking so many tackles.

All in all, the data from Game 1 and 2 suggests the Blues have an edge here, but QLD has been slowly gaining ground throughout the series and with Game 3 in Brisbane, the Maroons will be right in this.