NRL 2018 | State Of Origin Game 3 | Reading The Play

NRL 2018 | State Of Origin Game 3 | Reading The Play

NRL 2018 | State Of Origin Game 3

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Game Preview


Lang Park, Brisbane

Wednesday July 11th

NSW: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Tom Trbojevic, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 James Roberts, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 James Maloney, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 David Klemmer, 9 Damien Cook, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 12 Tyson Frizell, 13 Jack de Belin.

Interchange: 14 Tariq Sims, 15 Jake Trbojevic, 16 Angus Crichton, 17 Tyrone Peachey. 18th man: Ryan James

QLD: 1 Billy Slater (c), 2 Valentine Holmes, 3 Dane Gagai, 4 Will Chambers, 5 Corey Oates, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans, 8 Jai Arrow, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Josh Papalii, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Felise Kaufusi, 13 Josh McGuire.

Interchange: 14 Ben Hunt, 15 Jarrod Wallace, 16 Coen Hess, 17 Tim Glasby

Key Stats


Game 3 of the 2018 Series will be the final game for Qld Fullback Billy Slater and the 55th match to be played at the home of Rugby League. Queensland holds a 34-20 all time advantage at the ground and hasn’t been beaten in Game 3 of a Series at Suncorp since 2009. There have been 17 “dead rubbers” throughout the 36 Series, with Queensland winning 10 of those, while they have won 7 of 12 dead rubbers at Suncorp. When the final game of a Series has been played at Suncorp Stadium and the Blues have an unassailable 2-0 lead, Queensland has won the final match on 5 of 7 occasions. NSW will be aiming for a “blue rinse” for the 1st time since 2000, while it will be just the 3rd time in history and the 1st time since 1996 that they have done it in Game 3 at Suncorp Stadium.


In Game 3 of a Series there are generally more points of offer with the game total averaging 36.92 and while the average game total at Suncorp Stadium is 33.6, Game 3 at the ground has an average of 37.2, with only 2 of the last 9 totalling less than 40. Dead rubbers at the ground average just over 35, with 4 of the last 6 totalling 40 of more.
Points Range 9-20, 10 times, but only once this century and only twice in Game 3 21-30, 11 times, 6 of which were game 3, including 4 dead rubbers 31-40, 19 times, 6 times in game 3, 5 of which were dead rubbers 41 or more, 14 times, 8 of which were in Game 3.

Since 2006 there has been 16 Origin matches played at Suncorp Stadium and only on 6 occasions from those 16 matches has the 1st try been scored prior to the 8th minute, while in 4 of the last 5 it’s been beyond the 14th minute. The market for 8 minutes or later is pretty short at around $1.67, while you can get up to $1.95 for after 10 minutes and 30 seconds


Of the 54 matches played at the ground, 22 (40.7%) have been decided by a margin of 13+, with nearly half of those occurring in Game 3. The last 16 at Suncorp have had an average winning margin of 17.1, with 5 of the last 7 having been by 16 or more. Only 1 of the last 7 at the ground in Game 3 of a Series has been decided by a single figure score.


The half time leader has won 43 of 51 games (84%) QLD has led 26 times and only once have they been run down (96%) NSW has led 25 times and gone on to win 18 of those (72%)


So we come to a dead rubber game with QLD to host and Billy Slater’s last rep outing.

QLD have had an unpleasant series, coming into 2018 with the key retirements of Thurston and Cronk, then the all but last hour retirement of Cameron Smith and game 1 injury out for Billy Slater. They have then bounced off the walls of disappointment since with training mishaps and further injury issues and now front up to game 3 with no Inglis, new star Ponga, Morgan, Napa and probably the thinnest looking Origin line up that they have fielded in recent memory. At 0-2 they’ll now be trying to save face and salvage something from the wreck.

On the other hand NSW look to have had a dream run and coach Fittler now looks like he all but walks on water. He wisely cleared the slate and started afresh with a young list who a) he could influence and work with (and would listen) and b) rid them of dead wood and past baggage, he has also taken a deliberate and positive approach of attack play where at all possible and importantly been blessed with only the 1 key injury out and winning stability. Sometimes it looks easy.

The venue and it being a dead rubber game are major factors. This venue (Lang Park – Suncorp Stadium) is normally a much drier surface than Homebush and far more conducive to firm footing attacking play, and the stats do nothing but support this with 7 of the last 10 games have providing 40 or more points and while rare the last two dead rubber games have also provided 40 or more points. I’m quietly confident with a whole range of factors coming together that we should again see an open attacking game and plenty of points.

And what for QLD? The loss of Inglis, Morgan and Ponga certainly blunts their attacking skill an penetration. Hunt was likely about to be dropped but now gets a reprieve but is moved to the bench to play the utility role and Cherry-Evans after a long time overlooked gets a recall to play #7. My concern though is with the QLD forward line up, they have a middle rotation reliant on Wallace, Glasby, McGuire and Arrow which has consistently lost the yardage battle while their edge forwards (Cooper, Kaufusi) bench of Papalii and Hess has had little impact, in particular with any ball play or line break. Sure they are head down backside up and workman like, but QLD’s attack needs more than that, they need some play with the ball and at least 4 tries to be a chance of winning this result. In game two they had an obvious change in tactics in being prepared to shift the ball off a running forward (often McGuire) on early plays, but they also need some play through the line and more off load work and unless they change things up very differently its hard to see where this comes from.

The obvious question on NSW is where is their head and hunger into this? They have won the series, is that now enough? Is Fittler content that enough has been achieved? The early signs are that they want a 3-0 result, they’ve gone about their prep with a similar focus to games 1 and 2 and the coach has been prepared to drop a player of a win (and series win) to send a clear message that he’s about results and performance. From the outset Fittler has wanted a positive approach to their attack, he’s wanted yardage, strikes out of dummy half, some off load and second phase play and importantly some room for his 7, 6 and 1 to play with, attack and or set up either edge with ball for Mitchell or Roberts to use. He has also made it known that they’ve been a bit clunky with some of this attack intent and that there’s more to come – surely into a game where the pressure is less on the final result we should see some more relaxed approach. If they strike and start to click they have points in them.

QLD look to me to be on the ropes and almost out for the count. With one thing and another it’s been a tough series, retirements, key outs and injuries have taken a toll. They play at home which will help, as will the Billy Slater send off, but is it all enough for them to pick themselves up with one final winning effort? I’m keen on NSW, everything looks all but made to order and they on the up with their best of the series still to come. A fresh positive approach, a young list, stability and continuity with only the one injury out across the series and combinations and know how that should be building. They have confidence, and on the back of having already won the series the have some belief. There looks a lot of ticks around what they are doing and how its all come together.

Game one saw a 24-14 scoreline on a slippery surface and for mine NSW could well have won with even more comfort. Game two was a typical Sydney game, tight, low scoring, NSW got home by 4. Game 3 looks very typical of what we’d expect in Brisbane, plus we have a dead rubber game. Cook, Tedesco and Tom Trbojevic through the middle, offload ball off Jake Trbojevic, room for the halves to play and then some clean ball and room to either edge for Roberts or Mitchell. The attacking advantage should win out here, I like NSW and think they can go on with it now, think they might well put their foot down with a good score on the back of lots of attack and open play (from both sides), a high scoring game with plenty of points.

Tip: NSW

Best Bet Option: NSW -3.5 $1.90

Next Best Option: QLD-NSW total points over 36.5 $1.90

Exotic Play: NSW 13+ $3.50

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