State Of Origin PreviewState Of Origin Tips
New South Wales v Queensland
Wednesday, June 6, 8.10pm
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Best: New South Wales -6 ($1.91)
Value: New South Wales 13+ ($3.10)
First Try: Damien Cook ($26)
Man of the Match: Damien Cook ($9.00)

State of Origin has been reset this year with a host of Queensland legends retiring or being overlooked for selection while incoming New South Wales coach Brad Fittler has wiped the slate clean and named 11 debutants for the Blues in what is being viewed as generational and philosophical change. Excitement could not be higher as a new generation enters the Origin fray.

Recent Form

Queensland have won the last three series and 11 of the last 12. The Maroons have now won 60 of the 111 Origins played all-time with NSW winning 49 and two draws. The Maroons have 23 series wins to 13. The Blues have won three of the four clashes at the MCG. NSW have won three of the last five series openers. The Blues have scored 16-plus points in four of their last five Origins. NSW go in with four players in the top 16 of Dally M Medal voting while Queensland have just one. Queensland have two players who have scored seven or more tries while the Blues have competition top tryscorer Josh Addo-Carr. NSW forward David Klemmer leads the NRL in post-contact metres, James Tedesco and Latrell Mitchell both rank top five in tackle breaks and James Maloney leads the competition in line engagements. Queensland’s Cameron Munster ranks top five in try assists and line break assists. The Blues have named nine players from Top 4 teams and 13 from Top 8 sides with just one from a team in the bottom four. Queensland have four players from Top 4 teams and nine from Top 8 sides with four from bottom four clubs

Key Matchup
Damien Cook v Andrew McCullough. The ability to win the ruck is so critical in Origin and it will be up to these debutants to secure it. Cook is the most electric dummy half in the competition and has been the primary reason behind South Sydney’s ascent to the top four this year. McCullough is more a defensive rock but he can get through a mountain of work and his distribution and decision-making is always top class. Cook has the perfect game for Origin and if he can turn tired Queensland forwards around, he is going to have a major impact on this. The Maroons need McCullough to be tireless and smart. Replacing Cameron Smith is impossible but he needs to replicate his game as closely as he can.

Stats That Matter

– Queensland have won 14 of the last 21 matches
– Queensland have won 6 of the last 9 series openers
– Only 1 of the last 5 series openers have topped 20 points
– The underdog has covered 6 of the last 8 live Origin games
– Five of the last eight Origins have been decided by eight points or more
– The over has hit in 6 of the last 10 Origins
– The last five Origins and 7 of the last 8 have all topped 28 points
– There have been only three field goals kicked in the last 27 Origins
– Queensland have just two players who have won an Origin Man of the Match award while NSW have zero
– Wingers scored 7 of Queensland’s 8 tries in 2017
– Forwards scored just 2 of the 17 tries last year
– The over is 8-2 in night matches refereed by Gerard Sutton since 2014 where the total was less than 36

NRL Betting Stats

Final Thoughts
The 2018 series is where the tide finally turns for New South Wales after a generation of punishment. History means precious little in this series with Brad Fittler handing debuts to 11 New South Wales players. The move was deliberate. He wanted none of the scars – or the selfishness – of series gone by. He has not put a foot wrong with selection, notably prizing speed and current form over reputation, body type and experience. He has chosen a team that can punish the Maroons and that is exactly how the opener shapes. The Blues pack is dominant and playing great football and seem destined to win the arm wrestle, as they have in previous series. The difference this time around is that a hooker and a backline have been named that can take full advantage. The Blues win the opener and win comfortably.

How It Shapes Up
New South Wales by 14

Recommended Bets
Best: New South Wales -6 ($1.91)

Value: New South Wales 13+ ($3.10)
First Try: Damien Cook ($26)
Man of the Match: Damien Cook ($9.00)