State of Origin predictions: Game one - What the experts say
The opening match of the 2018 Holden State of Origin series is almost upon us. The experts at NRL.com have shared their thoughts on how they think Wednesday's clash at the MCG will unfold.
Michael Chammas - NRL.com chief reporter
In previous years NSW have picked a team trying to stop Queensland. Brad Fittler has picked a team that cares more about scoring points than stopping them. The Blues possess far too much strike power to be contained. NSW by 14.
Margie McDonald - NRL.com senior reporter
Queensland don't have a recognised goal kicker, enough grunt up front and no real leadership in the forwards. They should have picked Matt Scott or Sam Thaiday. NSW's youthful exuberance will trump the Queenslanders. NSW by 6.
Brad Walter - NRL.com senior reporter
Brad Fittler has chosen a team based on form and with the aim of beating Queensland, not trying to match them. Blues to win in a high-scoring game. NSW by 8.
Mary Konstantopoulos - Ladies Who League
Speed + the force of Reagan Campbell-Gillard + 11 debutants who aren't scared of the Queensland Maroons = the NSW Blues winning State of Origin I. NSW by 8.
Andrew Voss - Fox Sports
In the history of Origin we've only had two golden-point games, 2004 and 2005. Lock me in for a third. I just think this year's series is the "great unknown". NSW have outscored Queensland by 121 points to 120 in Melbourne Origin matches. Come Wednesday night, the points tally will be level. Queensland by 1.
Pamela Whaley - Big League editor
Queensland have neglected to name a regular goal kicker, and while coach Kevin Walters is convinced they can score more tries than the Blues to make up for it, often these games are decided by the smallest of margins. It should be another close one but expect the Maroons to bring in a specialist boot for game two. NSW by 12.
Steve Renouf - NRL.com expert, Maroons legend
If Dylan Napa fires up front he can be the difference to give Queensland a crucial victory over NSW in Melbourne on Wednesday night. The Blues have picked 11 debutants and a virtual new side. They will take time to gel but you don't have time in Origin. Queensland by 4.
Paul Suttor - NRL.com editor
The Blues have a rookie coach and more than half their team will be testing themselves in the Origin cauldron for the first time. Queensland still have plenty of experience and arguably a stronger squad. Plus most of the MCG fans will be cheering the Maroons. Queensland by 4.
Steve Turner - NRL.com expert, former Blues winger
It's a new era for State of Origin. Thurston, Smith and Cronk have gone, while NSW will unleash 11 debutants and a new coach. With so much speed out wide and hardened forwards, Brad Fittler's men will be too good for the Maroons. NSW by 12.
Zac Bailey - NRL.com reporter
The Blues have more speed than the Maroons. It wouldn't matter if NSW were heading to Origin I via Oxford St, Caxton St or Flinders St – once they're out on the pitch, Freddy's Blues will be too quick around the ruck and out wide for Kevvie's Maroons. NSW by 10.
Jamie Soward - NRL.com expert, former Blues five-eighth
NSW have chosen a speedy side and it shapes up as one that's going to score points. If you look at the Queensland side they've basically got the Australian backline bar James Maloney, so that's going to be a threat. The Cook/Tedesco combination needs to get on the same page very quickly and we've seen what Cleary and Maloney can do. NSW by 15.
Matthew Elliott - NRL.com expert, former NRL coach
I don't there is any expertise required in Origin tipping, because it is all about guessing and guessing how your team is going to win. I am gonna pick Queensland, not by 4000 but probably by four. They are gonna score the winner late in the game. Queensland by 4.
Chris Kennedy - NRL.com reporter
The Blues' power-packed forward roster will get over their steadier Maroons rivals and provide enough chances for the scintillating backs to work their magic. Queensland's Origin experience will keep it tight though. NSW by 4.
Dylan Morris - NRL.com reporter
Queensland will win Origin I, they have the key players to fill the void left by Smith, Thurston and Cronk. Queensland by 6.
Alicia Newton - NRL.com reporter
No Cronk, Thurston and Smith spells the end for Queensland. I'm expecting a one-sided contest. NSW by 16.
Dan Walsh - NRL.com reporter
All the hype is on NSW's rookies, but the Maroons still boast absolute world beaters in Greg Inglis and Will Chambers. If it comes down to the clutch, one of these stars will prove the difference. Queensland by 4.
Andrew Marmont - NRL.com reporter
Experience counts for something. Inglis and Morgan to provide calm heads and leadership. That's what's needed at this level. Their smarts to edge a close one. Queensland by 8.
Lone Scout - NRL.com fantasy expert
The Blues have gambled on attacking weapons and it's a gamble that may pay off – especially against a team missing the three players that have pulled the strings for Queensland for a decade. NSW by 12.
Peter Jolly - NRL.com reporter
A new era for NSW under the influential Brad Fittler. The players around the new coach will be hungry to impress their new mentor along with the passionate fans of NSW. The right mix of ingredients will see NSW prevail. NSW by 12.
Tanisha Stanton - NRL.com reporter
The NSW pack will be physical, Damien Cook will be running free and making plenty of metres at the back end of each half and Nathan Cleary will bring structure and provide the calm head that NSW need. NSW by 12.
Hayley Byrnes - NRL.com reporter
Nathan Cleary will have NSW fans nervous before finding his feet and steering the Blues to a game-one win. Tommy Turbo will have a monster game. NSW by 6.
Joel Gould - NRL.com reporter
The pace and speed of the NSW backline is one thing. Eleven debutants is another. The experience and class of Maroons skipper Greg Inglis on the big stage should come to the fore and get Queensland home, but only just. Queensland by 4.
Jackson Thomas - NRL.com reporter
New blood gets it done on a combination of enthusiasm and athleticism. With all eyes on Freddy's baby-faced Blues, I think the men from NSW get up for game one - the series will be a different beast, however. NSW by 16.
Katie Brown - NRL.com reporter
The debutants will fire, there is speed to burn in the outside backs and their forwards will at least match the Maroons pack. NSW by 2.
Witness Australia's greatest sporting rivalry when Origin comes to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday, June 6. Bronze tickets available from $49 HERE!