Wednesday 10 July 2013

#Origin 2013: QLD still awesome... unless? | Maroons Game 3 Team Analysis

QLD Team Game 3: Still a prop short... Still pretty awesome.

2013 NRL Premiership

By W D Nicolson - July 10, 2013

The DECIDER is Wednesday week at a sold-out ANZ Stadium - so gives the Game 3 QLD team a once over. NSW Team Analysis here

Things went to plan in Game 2 - but QLD miss a trick for The Decider?
Probably not.

When you win Game 2 like QLD did (which was not too dissimilar to NSW's victory in Game 1 most QLDers seem to forget) then you don't have to make any changes at the selection table.

And QLD didn't.

But NSW had to make changes going into Game 2 with Jarryd Hayne hurt, James Tamou suspended and Blake Ferguson... being Blake Ferguson when on the terps.

The Hayne loss was catastrophic for NSW (and he won't be there in Game 3 - which as we explain here - hurts) but QLD have refused to bring in another prop for Game 3 and I think they've missed a trick.

Let's look a the opening sets of Game 1 and 2 shall we?

If you have a good memory you'll recall them being carbon copies of each other - only NSW had all the momentum up the middle in Game 1 and QLD had it in Game 2.

Both teams had 14-0 leads at halftime and the games were all but over.

But what happens in Game 3 when both packs wake up and smell the roses (ie. hear the whistle that signals the game is underway) and we still have a contest after 20 minutes?

Well the impact from the benches become MASSIVE factors in deciding the series.

QLD will start Chris McQueen in the backrow again - meaning Nate Myles goes up front alongside Matt Scott to start the game. The second part of that I really like. I don't like McQueen starting because I think he's not a great defender and offers little in attack - giving NSW a target in Game 3. You might argue - he was great in Game 2 but so was every QLD forwrad once the game turned in the first 10 minutes and NSW had no drive to get back into the game... but was that because they'd won Game 1?

McQueen on the bench made more sense - he could be used when needed. Matt Gillett or Josh Papalii scare me a lot more as starters next to Sam Thaiday in the backrow - and Corey Parker is like a 3rd prop at lock anyway (but I think Ashley Harrison should still be in the squad).

But where's the extra prop for QLD?

Scott, Myles and Parker were their trio up the middle in Game 2, and Thaiday can play there if needed. Gillett has also spent some time in a prop's role at club and rep level which is good but he's also a real nice changeup to McQueen or Thaiday on the edges - just like Papalii... and Ben Te'o.

It's hybrid city and yes... it worked in Game 2. But I just think they had to take a punt either on Ben Hannant's calf or play Jacob Lillyman.

Because the hybrid mix certainly didn't work in Game 1 when they were thoroughly dominated in the middle in the early exchanges and never looked like gaining the ascendency after that.

I truly believe that all QLD needed in the mix for Game 3 was a 10-15 minute stint from an extra prop and they could certainly match what NSW will try and counter attack with off the bench in Trent Merrin, Anthony Watmough and Andrew Fifita - as all 3 will play up the middle in Game 3 like in the first two games.

Don't misunderstand this as 'underestimating QLD' - this is just a viewpoint that I held before Game 1 and 2 - QLD's got a soft underbelly for the first time in a number of years that NSW can actually hope to exploit.

But boy - won't the opening sets of six in Game 3 set the tone for who gets to lift the State of Origin Shield in 2013?

Here is the 19 man QLD Squad for Game 3:
  1. Billy Slater
  2. Darius Boyd
  3. Greg Inglis
  4. Justin Hodges
  5. Brent Tate
  6. Johnathan Thurston
  7. Cooper Cronk
  8. Matthew Scott
  9. Cameron Smith (c)
  10. Nate Myles
  11. Chris McQueen
  12. Sam Thaiday
  13. Corey Parker
  14. Daly Cherry-Evans
  15. Ben Te'o
  16. Matt Gillett
  17. Josh Papalii
  18. Jacob Lillyman
  19. Will Chambers
QLD stick with what worked in Game 2 - and bring in Will Chambers for experience as 19th man behind Lillyman. The DCE experiment worked well... as unlike NSW with Reynolds they didn't ask him to play a key role in his debut.

Queensland are your firm and overwhelming favourites boys and girls... the Blues can win sure, but I don't expect them to.

@NRLTweet Origin Man of the Match Game 2 Update:

The Man of the Series is up for grabs after game 1 and 2 - Check out the Updated Votes here - and Live Game 3 vies are available via the Hashtag #OriginMOTM
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