New South Wales to give Queensland the blues

State Of Origin

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Published: 03/07/2012

New South Wales has not won a State of Origin series since 2005 but there is a very good chance that its run of outs will come to an end at Queensland`s home ground in 2012.

Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane is the venue for Origin III, the series decider after the Maroons won Origin I 18-10 in Melbourne and the Blues won Origin II 16-12 in Sydney.

New South Wales is around 6-4 to beat Queensland in its own backyard and, having been arguably the better side in both Origin I and Origin II, it could be time for Australia`s most populous state to experience Origin success again.

The Blues were well on top in Origin I before a bit of push and shove between Greg Bird of New South Wales and Matt Scott of Queensland escalated into an all-in brawl. Blues centre Michael Jennings unleashed a wild haymaker as he raced to the scene and was sent to the sin bin for it.

The Maroons made the most of New South Wales being down to 12 men for 10 minutes, going from 0-4 down to 6-4 up thanks to a Darius Boyd try and Johnathan Thurston conversion. But they changed the momentum of the match on its head as well.

Before Jennings left the field in the 21st minute the Blues had dominated proceedings and bent back Queensland`s line thanks to the bullocking runs of, among others, debutant prop James Tamou and captain courageous Paul Gallen. The decision to sin bin Jennings changed the game massively.

New South Wales won Origin II fair and square. Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk spent 10 minutes in the sin bin but, unlike Jennings, the Queensland star could have no complaint with his sanction. Cronk performed an illegal act to prevent the Blues scoring a try underneath the posts. If anything, he got off lightly. It should have been a penalty try. That said, the home team scored two tries while Cronk was cooling his heels, with Brett Stewart and Josh Morris crossing for four pointers early in the second half at ANZ Stadium.

Ricky Stuart has done a great job with New South Wales. The last Blues boss to win a series, Stuart returned to the coaching hotseat in 2011 and has, almost single handedly, renewed his state`s passion. After making selection errors for Origin I - Jamie Buhrer and Ben Creagh were wasted on the bench - he got it right for Origin II and recalling fit-again Tony Williams for Origin III is a good call.

Stuart`s counterpart, Maroons mentor Mal Meninga, has made the decision to switch Greg Inglis from centre to fullback to serve as the replacement for Billy Slater, who injured his left knee in Origin II and has not recovered yet.

While Inglis stars at fullback for his club, South Sydney, he is a potent weapon at centre and his replacement on the fringes, Dane Nielsen, does not carry the same threat.

Blues fans think that Queensland has erred in its team selection and they are right. Also, Maroons veteran Petero Civoniceva does not deserve his place in his state`s side. He is there because Queensland is loyal. No other reason.

Back New South Wales to win in enemy territory and have millions of New South Welshmen dancing in the streets of Sydney. They have waited a long time to beat the Maroons.


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