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Stat of Origin: Stability out the window for Maroons

Queensland's record-breaking dominance in Holden State of Origin history started in 2006 but NSW could put an official end to an incredible era if they're able to sweep the series 3-0 in Brisbane next Wednesday night.

The Maroons have enjoyed success for more than a decade on the back of stability in their key positions but now find themselves in the rare territory of trying to deny a Blues whitewash for just the third time since 2003.

Queensland only secured one clean sweep during their era of dominance from 2006 to 2017, with the Blues salvaging the third game of the series after being 2-0 down on three occasions, while in 2014 the Maroons bounced back from a series defeat to win game three in a fashion that was the springboarded for them to claim series victories in the next three years.

When the Maroons avoided a whitewash in 2014 they made seven changes leading into game three.

They have opted for a slightly reduced approach in next week's clash with five changes – replacing injured duo Greg Inglis and Kalyn Ponga, picking Daly Cherry-Evans and switching Jai Arrow and Josh Papalii to the front row.

Only Ben Hunt (benched) has been demoted for a poor showing in the halfback spot, indicating overall that loyalty is likely to remain with Queensland at least in the short term.

NSW have tended towards mass changes in their three dead-rubber victories over this period, averaging at least seven changes per game after losing the first two matches of a series.

Their biggest turnover came in 2009 with nine changes before the Blues prevailed in a fiery 28-16 encounter in Brisbane.

Queensland used fewer players than NSW in nine of their 11 series wins since 2006. The Blues have used fewer players than the Maroons just four times in that period, including their series wins in 2014 and 2018.

Queensland have made 11 changes during the 2018 series through forced injury replacements and positional switches within the side.

That number is down on last year (12) after the Maroons snatched a series victory in the final two games against a Blues side that used an unchanged team throughout the entire series for the first time in more than two decades.

The figure has only been greater on one other occasion - in 2014 when the Maroons made 13 changes - again indicating the luxury Queensland have had in the past and their potential challenges they could face in the future with uncertainty around several positions.

NSW blew out to 21 changes in 2010, during Queensland's only clean sweep this century. 

But the Blues have been able to decrease that number by more than 50% each year since. Given the Blues' series victory and assuming all players are fit and available in 2019, it is likely Brad Fittler will keep the majority of his side together next season.

For Queensland, their era of dominance appears over and it remains to be seen how patient Maroons coach Kevin Walters can remain during a changeover period. A whitewash victory to the Blues could only mean those figures rise as the years go on.


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