Back New South Wales Blues to claim consolation win against Queensland

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The State of Origin 2016 series might already be decided, but the third game of the series will still be played with the usual passion and intensity as Queensland Maroons look for the clean sweep, whilst New South Wales Blues seek to avoid the humiliation of a whitewash in a series in which they’ve twice played on home turf.

Having just edged Game 1 by 6-4 at the ANZ Stadium, Queensland tied up the series with a 26-16 win at the Suncorp Stadium.  It maintains the Maroons dominance in recent times, with them having won 10 of the last 11 series.

Points do tend to be at a premium at the ANZ, with there being no more than 28 scored in any of the last seven meetings there.  A lack of points has been a particular concern for New South Wales, who have averaged just 10.7 points a match under coach Laurie Daley.

After missing out on selection in Game 2, the excellent James Tedesco is in for Blues for his Origin debut at full-back in place of Matt Moylan, while Wade Graham returns from suspension for Greg Bird and Josh Dugan is in for Josh Morris. Half-back Adam Reynolds has withdrawn through injury, so James Maloney switches from five-eighth with Jack Bird called up from the bench to take his former position.  With an eye on the 2017 Origin series there are not as many changes to the Blues team as some had wanted, but it still has a more youthful feel about it.

It’s an unchanged line-up for Queensland, but injuries force two changes on the bench, with Nate Myles and Gavin Cooper replacing Michael Morgan and Josh Papalii.

With the outcome of the series already decided this match could hinge on the mentality of the Queensland team and whether their level of motivation will be the same as earlier in the series in what is a dead-rubber.  History does suggest that after a team wins the first two matches in an Origin series, they usually fail to win the third.  A consolation victory for the Blues is just favoured by the bookies and that looks about right.