The Blues forwards dominate in-game speed and effort areas compared to the Maroons pack, according to Telstra Tracker data.
Analysing how much distance each forward averages through the course of 80 minutes each week as well as average intensity (measured as metres per minute during their time on field) shows a significant advantage in work rate from the men in sky blue.
The best of any of the three edge and five middle forwards picked by both states is Tyson Frizell, who covers 90 metres per minute during his 55 minutes on the field (his average minutes are brought down by two games in which he went off injured).
He is followed by NSW captain Boyd Cordner, who averages 88 metres per minute during his average 72 minutes per match.
Next best is Jake Trbojevic (86), Paul Vaughan (85) and Angus Crichton (84) before you get to Queensland's best.
David Fifita averages 83 metres per minute but is only asked to get through 38 minutes per game.
David Klemmer (83) and Cam Murray (80) also clock in before the next best Maroons, Raiders prop Josh Papalii and Bronco Matt Gillett (both 79).
Jai Arrow (78), Felise Kaufusi and Joe Ofahengaue (77) get in just before Blues rookie Payne Haas (76) with Queensland middles Dylan Napa (75) and Josh McGuire (72) trailing.
Overall, the Blues edges maintain a higher intensity than their Maroons counterparts by 87 metres per minute to 80, with the middles outperforming Queensland by 82-76.
Queensland have an edge in intensity in the playmakers and backs.
However, with halfbacks asked to do much more running than hookers, the fact the Maroons have selected a club halfback at hooker (Ben Hunt's average intensity of 86 is much higher than Damien Cook's 72) and centre (Michael Morgan 79) masks what would otherwise be a slight edge to the Blues. Nathan Cleary's average intensity of 96 is the best of any player on show.
In terms of distance covered, the Blues pack again has a significant edge.
Crichton (7.5km per game) and Cordner (7.1) are the only forwards on show to cover more than 7km per match. Their edge counterparts Gillett and Kaufusi (both 6.9) are next best.
The next four on the list are all Blues, with Trbojevic (6.8), Murray (6.3), Frizell and Klemmer (both 6.1) all covering more ground week to week than any of the Maroons middles.
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 1 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- Nine Network
Overall six of the lowest eight players by average distance are Maroons, with the Blues pack holding a huge advantage in average distance covered.
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