Can the Blues finally win another State Of Origin series?
NSW has the chance to win Game II and win just their second series in 13 seasons when they host Queensland at ANZ Stadium on Sunday evening.
Punters and the NSW fans only have to cast their memories back 12 months to this exact fixture where NSW, leading 16-6, somehow let the opportunity to seal the series slip from their grasp in a painful 18-16 defeat. It is now history that Queensland went on to win the decider at Suncorp Stadium.
That loss at Homebush was just the second time on eight occasions that the Blues haven’t won the series at home in Game II after winning the opening match. The only other time was back in 1987.
History is definitely on Brad Fittler’s side as the team that has won Game I has gone on to win the series 26 times (from 36 occasions).
Both sides have experienced a few changes with Matt Prior coming in to replace Reagan Campbell-Gillard for the Blues while champion fullback Billy Slater and boom youngster Kalyn Ponga are important additions for the Maroons.
In Game I, NSW appeared to be the more dominant side but couldn’t convert that into points early on. In fact, they led 8-nil before trailing 12-8 against the Queenslanders who really didn’t look in the contest. That was just after half-time but the difference between this Blues side and the one that has been mentally scared from series defeat after series defeat is that they picked themselves up off the canvas.
So much so that the Blues went on to score 14 more points while keeping the Maroons scoreless. Importantly, Queensland’s points all came via NSW errors whereas the Blues constructed their points on their own.
Slater and Ponga will definitely give Kevin Walters’ side some much needed x-factor but we doubt it will be enough to beat the Blues.
Losing last year’s series after going 1-nil up, New South Wales won’t want to blow this golden opportunity and with the likes of young halfback Nathan Cleary and the experienced James Maloney pulling the strings, this is their chance to return the shield to NSW.
They are short and we are definitely not keen to dive into the $1.36 on offer so the value here will lay in Margin betting. The 1-12 result is the logical choice going on historical trends at ANZ Stadium. Both teams have actually struggled to score points at the venue in recent years so expect a pretty tight affair once more.
Best Bet: New South Wales (Win) @ $1.35
Value Bet: New South Wales / New South Wales (half-full double)
Check out our other tips and previews for Game II here: