Have Queensland picked the right team to try and level the series?
Coach Kevin Walters was forced into damage control following his side’s humiliating 28-4 loss to New South Wales in Game I of the State Of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium a little over a fortnight ago.
While the Queensland philosophy has been to ‘pick and stick’, such was the humiliation of the loss that Walters and senior Maroons officials have ditched that plan and announced seven changes.
Among the incoming squad members are champions Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston while Walters has called on four debutants in the shape of Coen Hess, Tim Glasby, Jarrod Wallace and Valentine Holmes.
Out of the side are Anthony Milford along with veterans Aidan Guerra, Jacob Lillyman, Sam Thaiday and Nate Myles while their only point scorer from Game I, Corey Oates, has also missed out.
Obviously the additions of Slater and Thurston will give the Maroons more cutting edge when it comes to attack and their last-tackle options, however, will it be enough to overturn such a huge deficit from Game I?
It was clear for anyone watching that Queensland were lucky to be only down by two points nearing half-time in the series opener but that try just before the break to make it 12-4 really blew the game wide open.
The second half was a clear indication of the superiority the NSW forwards, in particular Andrew Fifita, had over their opposition but the big question will be whether the Maroons can stop the momentum in Game II.
A positive stat for Blues fans is that when they have won Game I at Suncorp Stadium, they have gone on to win Game II in Sydney on six of seven occasions with the only time this not happening being back in 1987.
Coach Laurie Daley has chosen the same 17 players that did a tremendous job in the opening match.
Much will rely on Pearce and Maloney making use of the momentum that the forwards should generate through Fifita, Tyson Frizell, Boyd Cordner and so on. Make no mistake about it this battle will be won through the middle.
TIP: New South Wales by 4 points – the past 16 Origin matches in Sydney have been decided by 10 points or less