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State of Origin Game 2 preview

From the top blokes at ReadingThePlay, @readingtheplay, here's a look at game two of this year's State of Origin series.

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STATE OF ORIGIN – QLD V NSW GAME 2 – FREE PREVIEW

Brisbane, Lang Park 8pm Wednesday

A few facts and figures

- QLD have won 7 of the last 9 games at Lang Park

- Only once in the last 7 occasions have NSW successfully gone to Lang Park with a series lead and then won

- QLD lead the overall counts – Series 17-12 and individual Games 51-44

- Likely ground conditions damp and slippery under foot following recent wet weather and ground use (Broncos, Wallabies Test)

QLD

Outs: Shillington, Harrison
Ins: Papalli, Cherry-Evans

NSW Outs: Hayne, Ferguson, Tamou
Ins: Dougan, Merritt, Woods

Tip: NSW

As I was for the opening game in Sydney I’m surprised again at the market pricing here with NSW as good as $2.72 through recent days where off their domination in game 1 and the then team changes I have had them marked a $1.95 chance.

QLD have made some positive changes (Parker to start – and the advantage of his offload game) but I expected more and am also surprised at the likely team balance that they are to play with, with just the one specialist front rower in Scott and questionable centre-field specialists. I find the exclusion of Hannant most surprising especially off the back of his very good effort first up last Monday week.

My view prior to game 1 was that NSW held an advantage through the middle which I then through that they then dominated with both yardage, up tempo speed of play and the negating of QLD defensively. By half time NSW had made 357 more metres than their opponents, a telling stat yet only led 14-0 and couldn’t go on with converting that to further scoreboard advantage in the second half. Yet QLD will now attempt to match NSW through this mid field battle on the back of makeshift front rowers (Nyles and Thaiday) and up tempo back rowers. They are also looking to do this with a shortage of centre-field specialists which I expect will have to take its toll later into the second half with Te'o (right), Papalii (right) and Gillett (left) specialist edge players.

As it has been since Adam played 7 for Nazareth what unfolds through the mid field battle will set the tone for the rest of this game. On the back of the yardage and physical advantage that NSW played to in game 1 QLD’s back 7 saw little clear room or ball and what little they did they did so playing off their back foot. Inglis for example only touched the ball 11 times, Slater other than the obvious kick returns something very similar. QLD are going to need something very special from Smith, Thurston, Inglis or Slater – and that’s well possible given the champion qualities of each of those players, but they are going to need some room and a near perfect error free contribution from their forwards to make this happen.

NSW are not without their question marks, notably the loss of Hayne’s brilliance and the obvious pressure that Dugan will play under (and I wouldn’t have picked him if I’d have had 5 goes at it). Pearce will need a near perfect offering, in particular with the accuracy of his short kicking game, Origin is not a game of multiple chances. They also have a number of players facing their first big time Origin game at Lang Park.

For mine NSW hold significant advantage through the middle and if played correctly with little error the series result is now theirs to lose. With an even share of possession (limited errors) and a smart kicking game then they should be able to play to this physical advantage and let it then lead to points. Should they do so then I expect big games from Gallen and Farah leading their troops to victory. NSW by 8.

Betting Interests: I’ll be playing NSW H2H $2.72 or you can take possible the insurance of the line at +5.5. For Man Of The Match I have backed Farah $9 and Gallen $13.

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