Here we are again, Origin time. Plenty of question marks thrown around this year, with QLD thrown into some sort of disarray, losing the likes of Scott, Thurston, Slater, Parker in a game they have all been a part of for many years. How do QLD react at home first up? They have won 10 of the last 11 series……
There is something about the QLD team. It is their spine. Smith and Cronk are two serious parts of it and whilst missing possibly the most important part, QLD has exceptional depth across many positions as highlighted by Kevvie Walters preferring Boyd over Slater. Big, big call. I like the inclusion of Napa, Thaiday, Gillett and McGuire have been in red hot form. There is also one thing I do know – QLD’ers have that edge in passion for Origin and playing at home in game one will play a big part in the outcome.
In front of a stadium packed with fanatical maroon supporters will lift QLD. There is no doubt. If I was a selector I would have popped a jersey on Slater, Holmes and Jarrad Wallace, but I am not, just a humble tipster trying to etch out an earn. I reckon that earn will come via the Maroons.
I am backing QUEENSLAND ($2) but the bet has to be QUEENSLAND 1-12 ($2.90). If QLD are going to win this game, I just cannot see this as being a blowout. It will be tight, trench warfare stuff. NSW have too good a side to allow this to happen although psychologically, the QLD dominance in Origin might play on their minds. This is why QLD will edge this one in front of their adoring fans.
Last year we smashed the jackpot when Gagai came up trumps in the First Try Scorer stakes. This year I am looking to his wing partner in game one, the tall, lanky bloke who knows his way to the line – COREY OATES ($11). With defence so tight up the middle, both teams have to fling it to the flanks to get across the chalk, and I can see Brisbane striking first.
Man-Of-The-Match is always an interesting award. Some players seem to have it cornered but with the great JT out of action, we look to another QLD’er to step up and take the prestigious prize. In game one I believe the Queensland play-making fraternity will corner the award at home. Whilst initially I liked the idea of COOPER CRONK ($8), I am actually going to go with ANTHONY MILFORD ($13) to step up into the cauldron and produce. He has been in great form this season, knows every blade of grass at Suncorp and is ready to produce on the biggest stage of all.
It will be an exceptional game and an exceptional series. I cannot wait until Wednesday night! Come on QLD!!!