STATE OF ORIGIN DECIDER 2017. CAN NSW BREAK THEIR SUNCORP DROUGHT?
State of Origin, the Decider. It’s the first decider since 2015, and the score is one that Blues fans would rather forget, with the Maroons recording their biggest ever win, 52-6 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. It’s the same venue for the decider tonight, and something NSW will have to overcome. The Blues will go up thereir confident though, after winning 28-4 in Game 1.
Queensland have made two changes to their side, following their series levelling 18-16 win in Game 2. Veteran , Johnathan Thurston has played his last Origin game, after suffering a season ending shoulder injury in that game. Darius Boyd is also out of the side as well, with a broken thumb.
Melbourne’s Cameron Munster will form his club combination on debut, as he plays alongside Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk for the Storm. Brisbane’s Ben Hunt was a controversial selection as the team’s utility, despite Manly skipper, Daly Cherry-Evans, in career best form.
Munster has been named at five-eighth, while the utility for the first two games, Michael Morgan, will line up in the unfamiliar position of centre, marking NSW’s Josh Dugan. Melbourne Back Rower, Felise Kaufusi, is the 18th man. Gold Coast’s Ashley Taylor and Brisbane’s Andrew McCullough have joined the squad as shadow players.
Despite, Thurston not playing this will be his Origin farewell from Suncorp, and Queensland will want to honour such a true legend of the game.
For New South Wales has once, they have again named an unchanged lineup, and it’s the first time since 1996, that a NSW team has gone through a whole series without changes.
Boyd Cordner is right to go after passing a fitness test on his calf, while James Tedesco, Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell are also set to play. Jack de Belin is the 18th man, and won’t play unless a late injury occurs.
NSW have not won a Series Decider , since Immortal, Andrew Johns, led them to a 32-10 victory in Brisbane in 2005.
After Game 2, Johns accused the Blues of playing “dumb” football. The Blues had the series in their grasp leading 16-6 at halftime, but stopped playing footy. Thurston was also struggling with his injury, and Johns was dumbfounded why the Blues didn’t target him.
Channel 9 Commentator, Johns said after the match;
“It’s the dumbest half of football NSW have played. They had all the running, their game plan was perfect. Thurston’s shoulder is stuffed, there is your game plan. You just go at him all night. You go at him and it puts pressure on the defenders either side.”
“They didn’t go to him once at all in the second half. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. You’ve got a player out there who cannot pick his arm off the ground and they didn’t target his side of the field”
“They had all the running and invited Queensland back in and went back to this out the back rubbish block plays” Johns said
NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce, knows where the Blues legend is coming from
“He is an immortal of the game and Joey reads the play better than anyone. There were some points that Joey raised were accurate. There was some dumb footy, some ill-disciplined footy and lack of control in the second half. He was disappointed how we finished the game and he’s probably right.”
“He’s the greatest player to pull on this no.7 jersey and I will listen to Joey’s advice as much as I can. I have the utmost respect for him. We stopped being the hunter and lost the momentum.”
The Blues will need to rectify this, as there are no second chances this time around. It could also possibly be the last time Laurie Daley coaches the Blues.
On Monday the Blues called in Manly Fullback, Tom Trbojevic and Melbourne Lock Dale Finucane, as cover for the squad.
2017 State of Origin Decider
Queensland v New South Wales
Tonight 8.10pm, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Queensland: 1 Billy Slater (Melbourne, 28 Origins), 2 Valentine Holmes (Cronulla, 1 Origin), 3 Will Chambers (Melbourne, 6 Origins) 4 Michael Morgan (North Queensland, 7 Origins) 5 Dane Gagai (Newcastle, 6 Origins) 6 Cameron Munster (Melbourne, 0 Origins) 7 Cooper Cronk (Melbourne, 21 Origins) 8 Dylan Napa (Sydney Roosters, 2 Origins) 9 Cameron Smith (C, Melbourne, 41 Origins) 10 Jarrod Wallace (Gold Coast, 1 Origin) 11 Gavin Cooper (North Queensland, 2 Origins) 12 Matt Gillett (Brisbane, 17 Origins) 13 Josh McGuire (Brisbane, 7 Origins)
Interchange: 14 Ben Hunt (Brisbane, 0 Origins), 15 Josh Papalii (Canberra, 9 Origins), 16 Coen Hess (North Queensland, 1 Origin) 17 Tim Glasby (Melbourne, 1 Origin) 18th man Felise Kaufusi (Melbourne, 0 Origins) Shadow Players 19 Ashley Taylor (Gold Coast) 20 Andrew McCullough (Brisbane). Coach Kevin Walters
New South Wales: 1 James Tedesco (Wests Tigers, 3 Origins) 2 Brett Morris (Canterbury-Bankstown, 14 Origins) 3 Josh Dugan (St George Illawarra, 11 Origins) 4 Jarryd Hayne (Gold Coast, 22 Origins) 5 Blake Ferguson (Sydney Roosters, 6 Origins) 6 James Maloney (Cronulla, 8 Origins), 7 Mitchell Pearce (Sydney Roosters, 17 Origins) 8 Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers, 13 Origins) 9 Nathan Peats (Gold Coast, 2 Origins) 10 Andrew Fifita (Cronulla, 9 Origins) 11 Boyd Cordner (C, Sydney Roosters, 8 Origins) 12 Josh Jackson (Canterbury-Bankstown, 8 Origins) 13 Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra, 4 Origins)
Interchange: 14 David Klemmer (Canterbury-Bankstown, 8 Origins) 15 Wade Graham (Cronulla, 3 Origins) 16 Jake Trbojevic (Manly, 2 Origins) 17 Jack Bird (Cronulla, 4 Origins) 18th man Jack de Belin (St George Illawarra, 0 Origins). Shadow Players 19 Tom Trbojevic (Manly) 20 Dale Finucane (Melbourne) Coach Laurie Daley