NRL 2018 | State Of Origin Game 1 | Reading The Play
NRL 2018 | State Of Origin Game 1
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Origin 1 Podcast
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NSW v QLD
Wednesday May 6, Melbourne Cricket Ground
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 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 12 Tyson Frizell, 13 Jack De Belin.
Interchange: 14 Paul Vaughan, 15 Jake Trbojevic, 16 Angus Crichton, 17 Tyrone Peachey.
Reserves: 18 Tariq Sims, 19 Nick Cotric.
QLD: 1 TBC, 2 Valentine Holmes, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Greg Inglis, 5 Dane Gagai, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Ben Hunt, 8 Dylan Napa, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Jarrod Wallace, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Felise Kaufusi, 13 Josh McGuire.
Interchange: 14 Michael Morgan, 15 Josh Papalii 16, Coen Hess, 17 Jai Arrow.
Is the 2018 series the start of something fresh – for both teams? NSW have a new coach in Brad Fittler and have gone for a major sweep out ushering in 11 debutantes for Game 1 while we also see a massive changing of the guard for QLD with the likes of Smith, Thurston, Cronk, Scott, Boyd and now Slater all missing from their line up due to retirement, injury or having been passed over. That’s 180 games of Origin experience (and winning experience at that) now missing for QLD which certainly evens this game up or potentially as the markets would have us believe position NSW now as very very warm favourites.
This contest presents some very interesting match ups everywhere. Tedesco stood out for NSW last year at fullback, running an impressive 160 mtrs av each game, if he can lift to similar levels again this season he’ll be continually putting NSW on the front foot at the start of their attack sets. The two spine match ups look to favour NSW, the late out of Slater now means that the long term gold class combination of Smith, Cronk, Thurston and Slater is now broken and QLD will now play McCullough, Hunt and who ever they then name at fullback as a completely new line up. NSW to are blooding debutantes in key spine roles with Cook and Cleary stepping in to join Maloney and Tedesco. I favour NSW with their general kicking game with both Cleary and Maloney, while their experience as a club halves combination should also allow them to settle into the game quickly and help them when under pressure.
The two edge match ups should deliver points to this game. On QLD’s left (their long term favoured attacking edge) we have Munster, Inglis and Holmes up against Cleary, Roberts and Tom Trbojevic – a nice test defensively for both Roberts and Inglis. On the other edge we see for QLD Hunt, Chambers and Gagai up against Maloney, Mitchell and Addo-Carr. I’d suggest QLD will be looking to spot target this edge much more than in past years given the defensive issues well exposed for Maloney, while Mitchell has also had his moments. I expect that we are going to see a typical fast paced Origin game with lots of attack and ball movement from both sides, so both edges for both teams are going to be really tested in defence and it’s only going to take a few key misses to turn the game, provide scoring opportunities and momentum.
Will goal kicking become a key factor? Again QLD loses the strengths and accuracy of Thurston and Smith and will now rely on Holmes, Munster, Gagai and or Ponga should he play. While accomplished kickers they don’t carry the 80% plus long term records of JT or Smith and this could well be a factor with the ebb and flow of points through out the game. NSW may well also have an edge here with both Maloney (81%) and Cleary (86%) high strike rate kickers.
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