Australia's most furious rivals - State of Origin will start the Game I in Wednesday (3 June) at Melbourne. New South Wales had 8 debutants as they wants to bring some new breath to win their first Series in 3 years. On the other hand, Queensland bring the original strongest squad in order to win the Series 4 years in a row. Now here's the tipping:
Queensland: Queensland did not change a lot compare to the squad last season. Only Darren Lockyer is back into the Origin to replace Scott Prince. The halves combination is still very strong and the creativeness of Jonathan Thurston and Darren Lockyer will be the key of the game. Israel Folau will bring lots of threats on the right wing as his jumping and pace is one of the best in NRL. The most important player is Thurston still as he will be the second receiver of the attack and he will have more space to make passes and kicks.
Key winning point - halves combination: As I mentioned, the halves are the centre point of the Queensland attack. Thurston and Lockyer are the starting point of the attack so New South Wales must stop them. Along with hooker Cameron Smith, the 9, 7, 6 combination is really good and creative. If this combination is effective, Queensland can win this game easily.
New South Wales: Compare with Queensland, coach Craig Bellamy had recruited 8 new debutants to enter the team. The most expecting debutants will be Robbie Farah and Terry Campese. This year New South Wales also have the best backs in last 3 years as they were all outplayed by the Queensland backs, especially in the halves position. Even though Terry Campese will play an important role in this game, I still believe Peter Wallace is the most important player in the game, as he knows the way Brisbane Broncos play, which is very similar to Queensland playing style. Wallace is very good at making use the space to create attack so if there is any space left for him, he can create lots of threats.
Key winning point - forward offloading: Still, offloading is the key point of New South Wales. For a long time New South Wales have a clear advantage of the forwards as they are strong, fast, and hard to catch. They also are very good at offloading so Queensland kept chasing. So if New South Wales can play the offload, Queensland will be tired very quickly and New South Wales can score tries easily.
Tipping: I believe the match will be very very close. Actually the advantage of both sides are fading as Queensland's forwards are better and New South Wales' halves and backs are the best in the last 3 years. Playing at Melbourne is a little bit advantage to Queensland as they won the decider in 2006 there. I believe the match experience can bring Queensland through as this is one of the most important factors of the game. However, the margin will be very narrow.
My tip: Queensland win by 1 try
So happy Origin!