NRL 2019 | State Of Origin Game 1 Preview | Reading The Play

NRL 2019 | State Of Origin Game 1 Preview | Reading The Play

NRL 2019 | State Of Origin Game 1 Preview

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Game Preview


Lang Park, Brisbane

Wednesday June 5th


Kalyn Ponga, Corey Oates, Michael Morgan, Will Chambers, Dane Gagai, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jai Arrow, Ben Hunt, Josh Papalii, Felise Kaufusi, Matt Gillett, Josh Maguire.

Interchange: Moses Mbye, Dylan Napa, David Fifita, Joe Ofahengaue, Tim Gladsby.


James Tedesco, Nick Cotric, Latrell Mitchell, Josh Morris, Josh Addo-Carr, Cody Walker, Nathan Cleary, David Klemmer, Damien Cook, Paul Vaughan, Boyd Cordner, Tyson Frizell, Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: Jack Wighton, Payne Haas, Cameron Murray, Angus Crichton.

Key Stats

For just the second time in 14 years NSW head into an Origin series as the defending title holders

QLD have won 10 of last 12 at the ground

Queensland have won five of the past six games at Suncorp Stadium, though the Blues have won game one in Brisbane at their last two attempts (2014 and 2017)

Home underdogs have covered the Line at 6 of the last 7 Origin games (QLD +1.5)

Average Origin game total points at Suncorp Stadium is 33.6

Total Points: 13 of last 16 (non dead rubber games) have all gone under (33.5 pts)

2019 NRL - What a start to the season!

Profit +14.73 units

45 Winners 27 Bets – 60%

10 Best Bets Winners form 13 selections

Game 1 Preview

Let’s briefly re cap on last year’s series. NSW won game 1 in Melbourne 22-12. Maloney missed two conversions and NSW had two late tries disallowed (correctly) while QLD scored off an intercept – it would be fair to argue the winning score line should well have been wider and more dominant. NSW won game 2 (and the series) in Sydney 18-14 and then QLD won the dead rubber game in Brisbane 18-12 to in teh end save some face.

QLD went into 2018 on the back of the retirements of Smith, Thurston and Cronk. They now enter 2019 with the retirements of Slater and Inglis and the loss to NFL of Valentine Holmes (who last year scored 63% of QLD’s total series points). In short this QLD team has seen a massive makeover across just the last two years and are now missing big chunks of class and quality.

This year Walters brings into his QLD team the skill and rising class of Ponga at #1 and Cherry-Evans and Munster in the halves but opts for a makeshift #9 in Hunt (and will use makeshift back ups for this role in either McGuire or Mybe). To fit Michael Morgan into their line up they have moved him to left centre. NSW have the advantage of the world’s best #9 at present in Cook and his obvious speed and skill out of dummy half should he get some room, and they have the outstanding talent and class of Tedesco at the back. The key question for them is the new combination in their halves, Cleary who has been under significant form focus for months to hold his spot and the debutant but one with outstanding club form in Cody Walker. For mine QLD take a major risk with Hunt at #9, but it could be argued that they have the benefit of multiple ball players in their line up at 9, 7, 6, 1 and Morgan on the left.

I think NSW have a clear advantage off the bench, and with Origin played at such speed and intensity the quality of and use of your bench can be key (and rightly has been a criticism of Walters through the last two series). QLD have shown their hand going with 3 big men in Napa, David Fifita and Ofahengaue with a clear intent of banging their big men and muscle all night down the middle 3rd of the park, with Mybe making up the 4th bench spot on the back of his versatility (it sure as hell couldn’t have been form..). NSW have an extra big man in Haas (and a likely rotation that will see Frizell play time in the middle), Murray has work rate but also clever footwork and ball skills, Crichton will likely play a fair bit of right edge when Frizell moves to the middle while Wighton brings size and muscle with his versatility and potential back up roles.

Kevin Walters heads into is 3rd year as Origin coach and what has been obvious so far has been a cautious approach to attack and points. Now, with all the experienced aces in the pack retired (Smith, Cronk, Thurston, Slater, Inglis) significant pressure raises on Munster, Ponga, Cherry-Evans and Hunt to create and drive their attack. The coach hasn’t shown me anything over recent years that he has the nous to lead this, if anything I think QLD were very lucky they were not touched up by bigger margins in games 1 and 2 last year. But, there’s something in the water when QLD prepare for Origin, especially at home.

It’s also no walk in the park for NSW. Fittler ushered in a new generation (much overdue) of change last year following his appointment with 11 new faces, but he also went with form and a focus on attack and points to also balance what was required in defence. Now into 2019 he has a further 5 new debutants in his 17 with Walker, Haas, Murray, Wighton and Cotric plus due to form and injury issues he’s had to return to Josh Morris for one of his centre roles – importantly he has a new halves combination. Cotric will most likely play right edge and line up on Corey Oates, a nice welcome to Origin considering Oates ability to score trys and the fact that the QLD left winger has scored 12 tries in the last 10 Origin games!

I have been impressed with Fittler’s approach, more importantly his want to balance the high importance in Origin of defence with the need to play some attack and get the scoreboard talking with a points tally. If everything had stuck in games 1 and 2 last year NSW could well have won both comfortably – but hey, that’s the beauty of Origin and the quality of the contest it’s always been.

A home game at Suncorp adds something further to the mix. QLD won game 3 here last year and they have won 8 of their last 10 at the ground, it’s a significant advantage. But it is also a day track conducive to a faster attacking game with higher points totals which may well favour the NSW approach.

How do we expect them to play? I think QLD have shown a pretty obvious hand, big men through the middle plus an extra 3 off the bench, try and dominate the yardage and physical contest, and then if and when some room opens up let the halves and fullback play to the strengths of their running games. NSW? I expect it will be a focus on holding the middle ground, but also introducing some skill and ball play off the likes of Cook, Frizell and Murray coupled up with plays that engage Tedesco. They’ll favour their left edge with the attacking class of young Mitchell while Cody Walker will look for running options once some of the heat of battle starts to evaporate and fatigue sets in. A risk for QLD with a focus on so many big men is the opportunity to target back in behind the play the ball (tired big men lacking sideways mobility), perfect for Cook, Tedesco and Walker. I’d also not be surprised to see NSW play the opening 30 minutes in attack sideline to sideline in an attempt to run the big boys ragged early, and then later in the game come back through the middle, an often favoured tactic of Gould, Fittler and the Johns brothers.

I like NSW here. Winning in Brisbane is not easy but I like Fittler’s approach to wanting to play some attack, and select and build his patterns of play around this, Walker has been is some rare individual attacking form for months, Mitchell can do some freakish things down the left edge while Cook and Tedesco back through the middle can open things right up and turn half opportunities into points. The way the likely game patterns read to me QLD are going to need to take every chance that comes their way, and defend for their lives for 80 minutes. It’s Origin, it will throw up things we didn’t expect, but I’m with NSW to have the attacking edge.

Tip: NSW

Score line: NSW 26 – 14

Man Of The Match: Either Cook $7 or Tedesco $7

Recommended betting plays if you are looking for an interest:

Line Handicap: NSW -2.5 $2.00

Total Points: Over 33.5 $1.90

Any Time Try Scorer: Corey Oates $2.35 (to score a try at any time in the game)

Double Option: To Score A Try (anytime) and team To Win – Corey Oates try NSW to win $4.30

The “Lets Just Have A Crack” Bet: NSW 13+ $4.00

The “I just want to have one bet” best play: Any Time Try Scorer: Corey Oates $2.35

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Having coached at a senior level for 16 years including 3 years on the coaching staff of an NRL club Mr G is an avid student of the game. He’s coached sides to win titles at a senior level, run the football arm of a successful district club, managed professional players and worked in various development roles, so it’s fair to say the game of Rugby League is certainly in his blood and supports an experienced and unique offering.

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