Voss: Why the Blues will win Origin III
Andrew Voss tips James Tedesco, Jarryd Hayne and James Maloney to thrive in Origin III, farewells a Warriors legend, and says the Eels are smokeys.
Who wins the Origin decider?
New South Wales.
I am chasing a rare origin tipping clean sweep after selecting the Blues in the series opener, and hopping onto the Maroons bandwagon for Game Two.
Now I'm going back the other way again.
The loss of Johnathan Thurston and Darius Boyd is just too big of a setback. I still go back the fact that for 133 minutes of this year's series, New South Wales had outscored Queensland 44 to 10.
I think they can again post at least 20 points tonight and that will be too many for the home team to chase.
Lock me in for a 24-16 scoreline.
Who will produce the big plays?
If James Tedesco is fit, I believe he can match his outstanding performance at Suncorp Stadium of six weeks ago.
The Tigers fullback is my tip for man of the match.
I'm predicting Jarryd Hayne to make it a try in each game of this year's series. Put me on the Hayne Plane for the opening four-pointer tonight.
I think the goalkicking boot of James Maloney will also be a thorn in the side of the Maroons tonight. He'll turn every four into six. He's coming off an eight-out-of-eight effort for the Sharks against the Roosters last Saturday week.
On the Queensland side of things, I have had a feeling Ben Hunt might even start. I don't see his value off the bench.
And I am confident in whatever role Cameron Munster plays on debut he will handle it.
And what about some more number crunching?
Origin is a rugby league statistician's dream.
There are plenty of facts and figures from the last decade that would indicate the Maroons will do it again. The Maroons' 12-4 record in deciders is fairly emphatic.
However, of the most telling stats in the overall 35 year history of Origin series, there is one I can't move past.
In those 35 years since three-game series began in 1982, the team winning game one has managed to claim the shield on 26 occasions. It's also been that way in seven of the past eight series.
For New South Wales, 11 of their 13 series wins have come in years where they won the opening match.
Tonight it will be their 12th.
How do we sum up the NRL career of Manu Vatuvei?
The big fella will go down as a great of New Zealand rugby league.
These are some of the words that come to mind when I think of Manu the player.
Unique. Smiling. Tries. Big. Beast.
What's more he's a fantastic bloke. I have been lucky enough over the years to call many of his 152 tries.
While I am sad that he won't get to play a farewell match for the Warriors, the renaming of the ground this Friday night to Manu Vatuvei Stadium is a wonderful touch by the club.
Is this it for Canberra?
I'm anticipating they will have to win seven of their last eight to make the playoffs, so we're getting close.
At the very least, they have to win all their remaining home games and that includes Friday night's clash against the Dragons. But as their fans know, four wins and four losses at the home of the Viking clap has been a major disappointment in 2017.
Oh 'hoodoo' don't desert the Raiders now. Admittedly the Dragons won on their last trip to Canberra in 2015, but that was only their fourth win in 15 visits.
I'm tipping the Raiders, but I'm not confident.
How serious is the challenge of the Eels?
There is some serious potential in this team, dare I say a touch of the Sharks of 2016.
If they can all hit their best form on the one night – Norman, Moses, Gutherson, Radradra, French, Jennings – the Eels will pose a big threat to any side.
They haven't got the runs on the board this year in the same manner as Melbourne or Cronulla, but with a good build up to the playoffs, I believe their fans have reason to be just a bit excited.
Have a great Origin night folks.