State of Origin | Game 2 | NRL | 2021

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Game 2: Team Lists and Changes

NSW all but unchanged and as expected, Crichton into the forward list a quality in.

QLD have multiple changes. The starting point is that they are with out key strike players in Ponga, Brimson and Harry Grant – combined huge outs. Each has shown at this level through recent seasons that they are individually game breakers and in a game where attack and scoreboard points are going to be required this really brings them back to the mark. Papalii is a quality addition, and they should see more from Walsh. McCullough and Hunt are forced selections, but there is a significant gap in comparison to what they might bring (at their very best) compared to who they replace and or who they are up against. The rest of the changes to some of their forward list look more like moving the deck chairs on the Titanic, the names have changed but I see very little in the change of influence.

The other point of note is in the three quarters, I would have gone with a return to Chambers, he is a big body and normally very strong edge defender and moved Capewell into the backrow. Capewell’s sideways mobility when caught on an edge was exposed in game 1, and both he and Gagai were often caught on the back foot defending at speed runners with room, a defensive nightmare when up against Trbojevic and Mitchell and or Tedesco.

Weather. The rain and showers in Brisbane central itself has been only light through Thursday to Saturday and clearing, and none of the heavy or up to 10mms in the early possible forecast. Saturday looks further clearing into a sunny 21 dry Sunday and I’d expect a good mainly dry surface conducive to attacking footy on Sunday evening. So while not dry and very fast as we saw in Townsville we should be onto a good surface, on a ground that drains very well (and after decent rain Wednesday of last week we then saw 46 points and numerous bombed tries by the Rabbits only two days later on the Friday evening).

The line opened 7.5, was 11.5 Monday and has been in free fall since now out to 14.5 I expect that on game day with the news of drying conditions (and a lack of big rain on Saturday) that we will likely see it move further given NSW are normally very well favoured by both the big punters and the rank and file. Total points sits at 46.5 (game 1 was 42.5).

This ground (and night games here) normally strongly favours attack and points and has a strongly overall record of high totals and points over results. That can be tempered in the past in Origin in both game 1 contests at this venue, or sometimes game 2, but we are also now playing in different times and rule / play set up.

Another key factor here and probably won’t get much media attention until post game 2 or 3 is Green and not Bennett as QLD coach. This series and scenario is right up the master coach’s alley – as we saw in the decider in game 3 last year. For mine he rents space in Fittler’s head and caused him no amount of headache with his experience and people / media management last year and his mastery as a coach in pulling what ever his list is together for a one out backs against the wall effort (especially at Suncorp). Green showed rookie mistakes in the lead up to game 1 and for mine is not even in the same postcode as the master, and it has also allowed Fittler to swing 360 with an air of confidence with no Bennett factor to sidetrack or flip him.

I expect NSW win, and win comfortably enough but a burnt and hurt QLD back to Suncorp in a Game 2 can (in the past) be fraught with danger in taking them on. Home teams in game 2 of Origin have a 77% record of WINNING. QLD’s long term record in this position (Home, Game 2) has seen only a few losses, and all at 8 or less. So a line first opened at 7.5 made a lot of sense, but clearly we now have a game shape all out of whack and the teams with high strike and skill can blow these lines off the park very quickly. It would not surprise me if NSW win by 20 or more again.

QLD for mine have no choice but to have to try and come up with points and be in this battle on the scoreboard from the outset. They could try and go down the path of defence, shut down, slow down and try and use an enormous defensive effort to close thigs down and try and lift to win, but given the style of game that we currently have and the level of strike and intention that NSW will have I would have thought such an approach was very low % outcome. So which ever way I work through the likely game set up I end up at NSW winning and the game having plenty of points. QLD scored just the one try in game one and had 8 put through them, so they’ll need a likely 4 tries here to compete and be any chance of winning, if they get to 2 maybe 3 tries and the market makers are right with a 12 to 16 point NSW win margin then we are already at mid to high 40 points. If QLD get to 20 and can hold NSW back a bit to mid to high 20’s, again the total is high. If the game gets away from QLD they are going to then have a problem reeling it in and or stopping and NSW if they are building in play and confidence as they look to have grown 10 feet tall the longer the second half went in game 1.

I expect NSW win, and likely win very comfortably. For the sake of serious outlay tho I am happy to leave a 16 point line alone and work around it. I think the best play options are NSW to win, high points and a couple of obvious guys as any time try scorers (these are formal bets).

Bet 2 units points over 46.5 $1.90 BB

Bet 1 unit (same game muti) NSW to win $1.23 x Tom Trbojevic anytime try $1.92 / $2.36

Bet 1 unit (same game muti) NSW to win $1.23 + Latrell Mitchell anytime try $2.21 / $2.71

If as I expect QLD have to have a crack then the game profiles with plenty of points. We saw 56 points in game 1 and QLD only contributed 6, they might improve their D here but 20 to 26 points each and or higher to NSW, or NSW 30 something to 18 or there abouts keeps bring us back to options of 48 or more. The #13, 7 and 6 for NSW were super in how they set the play up off some room, moved the ball and put both Trbojevic and Mitchell onto the ball and into room, I want to back both to again have big games. Tom is a freak at finding the tryline, Latrell is not far behind him.

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