Passion will amount to nothing if New South Wales aren’t able to combine attitude with execution as they desperately attempt to keep the 2012 State of Origin series alive at their Homebush headquarters later today.Despite being dominated in key areas of game one, Queensland (-2 Match Handicap) showed why they have been so hard to stop over the past six State of Origin series, weathering all the elements NSW threw at them before unleashing a late bolt of lightning to storm home and record their 50th interstate win since 1980.
The very fact that Queensland (5/6 First team to score) were able to triumph despite several of their stars being affected by a virus in the lead-up and also during the game speaks volumes for the enormous task the Blues face to send the series to a decider in Brisbane on the 4th July . However, Sydney’s big wet has thrown NSW (+2 Match Handicap) a lifeline and they’ll be happy for it to continue – they won the last encounter played in rain and on a heavy surface, ironically back in game two at ANZ Stadium last year.
The Blues have lost second rower Tony Williams to injury but upside for NSW is that their halves Mitchell Pearce and Todd Carney (25/1 First try Scorer) are open to vast improvement after failing to stamp their authority three weeks ago, with Carney on debut in particular looking unsure with his service to his outside men.
Their only other change sees Manly back-rower and seven-game Blues (5/6 First team to score) rep Anthony Watmough return to the squad at the expense of club team-mate Jamie Buhrer.
Meanwhile Queensland were dealt a huge blow last week when workhorse second-rower Sam Thaiday ruled himself out with a shoulder injury. Dave Taylor (25/1 First try scorer) has been promoted off the bench and will assume Thaiday’s role on the right edge of the field, with Corey Parker called into the Maroons’ squad.