New South Wales stand on the brink of finally ending Queensland’s eight year dominance of State of Origin as they head to ANZ Stadium looking to take a two-nil lead in the best of three series. The Blues will be desperate to make up for the loss in last year’s decider at the same venue and secure victory in front of their home fans.
At the time it appeared as though by losing in game three last year NSW had passed up the best opportunity to secure a series win that would come their way for the next few years. However, a somewhat unexpected but heroic display in Brisbane three weeks ago has produced an immediate chance for redemption.
Despite their numerous injury concerns Queensland should not be written off. They were under similar pressure last year having lost the opening game and with questions asked of their ageing squad. Their response was emphatic, and after securing a win on home turf they returned to Sydney and once again produced a performance when it mattered most to deny NSW.
However, this time around they will have to do it without Cooper Cronk after he suffered a broken arm in game one. His replacement – Daly Cherry-Evans – also comes into the game under an injury cloud, although the indications are that he will be fit enough to take the field.
NSW did not escaped from game one without injuries of their own, with both Morris twins unavailable for the remainder of the series. They are able to call upon replacements with Origin experience in Will Hopoate and Josh Dugan, while seasoned campaigner Greg Bird is also available again after a suspension.
The reshuffle in the centres has allowed Jarryd Hayne to remain in his preferred position at fullback. His performance in game one was one of the best ever seen in a blue shirt, and he could be the man to guide NSW to a famous victory tonight.
Despite having two bites at the cherry, NSW will be desperate to get the job done tonight and avoid having to go to Brisbane needing a win in game three. Over the past three years it has felt as though the Blues are getting closer and closer, but they will need to step up to another level tonight to secure a first series win since 2005.
Travel via public transport is included with all pre-purchased tickets. Additional train and bus services are in operation before and after the game, including Sydney Olympic Park Special Event Buses on the usual routes.
Wednesday 18th June, ANZ Stadium Homebush 20:00
New South Wales v Queensland