NRL – All the outsiders won, but so did we As you can see, we only had 3 suggested investments in round 14, and despite their big odds they all won. We only needed 1 more point in the Souths v Warriors game to give us 6 straight wins. Members watch tonight’s big Origin game sitting comfortably knowing that they have already backed the Maroons to win the series at 1.60 and they are now 1.18. Wests Tigers To WIN $3.38 WON Roosters To WIN $2.35 WON Titans To WIN $2.25 WON More info on our NRL members page. Origin 2 – it’s Qld to take series back Queensland do not have to win Origin 2 to win the series but 73% of game 1 winners have gone on to win the series and 13 of the Maroons 18 series wins (72%) have come after winning game 1. Many coaches believe that “big is better” and the more big men you have on the field the better chance you have of winning the middle third and scoring points. Laurie Daley, the NSW coach is obviously a student of the Des Hasler philosophy and has crammed the Blues team with as many big tough guys as he could find. The only trouble is that the smaller more athletic Queensland team not only won game 1 but also the “go forward” battle with the Marroons running for 1,688m and the Blues for 1,221m. BTW Des Hasler fielded the biggest pack ever to play NRL last Sunday when his giant Bulldogs took on the tiny Titans and you guessed it, the speedy Titans won the game and the go forward battle. Don’t get sucked into the media hype that the Maroons have been weakened with the loss of champion General Cooper Cronk. The advantage that Cooper had was his experience at knowing the Queensland system, the vital calls and when Cam Smith wanted him and when Billy Slater was on the move. He is replaced by the controversial Daley Cherry-Evans and the advantage for the Maroons is that he is a superior player. DCE has a better record at busting tackles, making line breaks and setting up his outside men. He is simply more dangerous with the ball and just a good a defender. DCE is valued at $1.3m on an open market. Cronks greatest attribute to the Maroons is his amazing ability to organize his troops but with Cam Smith, Billy Slater and Jonathan Thurston there will be no shortage of good advice. Although DCE has been selected as the starting halfback, I am not convinced that is what will happen. They have the option to play the living legend Thurston at halfback, his club position, and bring in his Cowboys number 6 Michael Morgan, or Cherry – Evans could play second receiver as he has done for Australia. I will be stunned if Thurston does take over and call the shots, in fact my Maroon mole has confirmed they have trained that way. Queensland have already won game 1 in Sydney and they can wrap up the series with a win in Melbourne so why not make your best player and your best organiser as the first receiver and team general? I have no doubt JT will want to run the show, and importantly, the senior brains trust of Smith, Slater, Hodges and Inglis would also want the great man calling the shots. I know that if I am rating this game Queensland are a shorter priced favourite if Thurston is the dominant playmaker. We are not likely to really know until they actually kick off. Maroons coach Mal Meninga would be delighted that big Andrew Fifita has been dropped. While he did not have the best game 1, he is the type of erratic player that could have caused Queensland a major problem. NSW may well win game 2, but Laurie Daley is yet to coach a team at Origin level to score more than two tries, and that is not enough to consistently defeat this great Queensland team. The Blues need players who can score tries and create tries and the selectors have clearly missed the form of Blake Austin and Josh Reynolds. One of them should at least be on the bench to cover for Farah. Reasons why the Maroons are stronger: 1. Cherry-Evans is rated a better player than Cronk 2. Greg Inglis was in hospital for four days prior to game 1 and had a shocker. 3. Cherry-Evans had a rushed preparation in 2014 4. Melbourne will give them greater crowd support 5. Billy Slater was not 100% 6. Robbie Farah is not 100% Reasons why the Blues are stronger: 1. Brett Morris in for Tupou 2. Paul Gallen returns 1. Billy Slater 2. Darius Boyd 3. Greg Inglis 4. Justin Hodges 5. Will Chambers 6. Johnathan Thurston 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Matthew Scott 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nate Myles 11. Aidan Guerra 12. Sam Thaiday 13. Corey Parker Interchange: 14. Michael Morgan 15. Josh McGuire 16. Matt Gillett 17. Jacob Lillyman 18. Josh Papalii 19. Dane Gagai 20. Korbin Sims 1. Josh Dugan 2. William Hopoate 3. Michael Jennings 4. Josh Morris 5. Brett Morris 6. Mitchell Pearce 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Aaron Woods 9. Robbie Farah 10. James Tamou 11. Beau Scott 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Paul Gallen Interchange: 14. Trent Merrin 15. Boyd Cordner 16. David Klemmer 17. Josh Jackson