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For & Against: Will Maroons upset NSW in Origin decider?

History is on Queensland's side but the odds are stacked against them when the Maroons tackle NSW at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night in the State of Origin series decider.

Being the underdog has never worried the Queenslanders too much and no one knows the state's never-say-die ethos better than Cowboys, Maroons and Kangaroos legend Johnathan Thurston.

The Channel Nine expert commentator, who was one of the driving forces behind Queensland's golden era from 2006-16 in which they won 10 from 11 series, believes this year's squad can overcome the better-credentialed Blues team to lift the Ampol State of Origin shield at Suncorp Stadium.


Queensland legend and Channel Nine commentator Johnathan Thurston

There's no doubt this Maroons squad is capable of winning Wednesday night's decider at Suncorp Stadium.

One huge bonus will what's expected to be a sold-out crowd. None of these players have played in front of a full house since March and while that will no doubt give a lift to players on both sides, the home side will get the bigger boost.

The Queensland players need to bring the crowd into the game right from kick-off and start the match really well.

Having Cameron Munster and Christian Welch in the side is huge as well. Christian was outstanding in game one, especially with his defence.

He put a lot of pressure on the Blues, in particular their kickers, and we all know what Cameron can do with the ball.

Maroons v Blues - Origin III

There are a few other team changes with some debutants brought in. It's disappointing obviously for the boys who have missed out but the two new players will be pumped to make their debuts.

Harry Grant had a great year for the Wests Tigers. He's very sharp out of dummy-half so if we can create some ruck speed when he comes on the field he will be able to bring the forwards onto the ball and get his running game going.

His running and passing games are outstanding, especially the way he is able to distribute quick ball out to the edges.

Corey Allan has done extremely well under Wayne Bennett at Souths this year, he's got a big strong carry out of the backfield.

He's been named on the wing but we could see him at fullback.

I'd say only the players and coaches will know that at the moment but he was outstanding at fullback after Latrell Mitchell got injured.

Legends pick their greatest State of Origin player

Then you've got Wayne coaching the side with help from Mal Meninga. We all know what Wayne brings to a football team and after conceding a loss like that one last week, he will no doubt pick the payers back up and make sure they're fully focused for Suncorp.

Mal is the greatest ever origin coach so they have a lot of experience in that area, those two.

The players would have been extremely disappointed with their performance last week in Sydney but the coaching staff will make sure they have flushed that and will be looking ahead to what they have to do on Wednesday night.

My favourite Origin moment - Greg Inglis

Against reporter Chris Kennedy

After a hiccup in game one, the Blues righted the ship with a commanding win in game two and will carry that momentum into the Suncorp Stadium cauldron to claim their third straight Origin series.

Now, there's no doubt Queensland will be better than in game two. With a vocal home crowd cheering them on they will be fired up and having Welch and Munster in the line-up will make a huge difference.

But the Blues will still be too good. They were well off the pace in game one - the balance of the team was a bit off.

JT's greatest ever Queensland team

That was corrected in game two but most importantly, the under-pressure halves both fired.

Nathan Cleary stepped up with his best Origin performance while Walker wasn't far behind him in terms of best on ground and proved he belongs at this level. With those performances in the bank that duo will be riding a huge wave of confidence.

The Maroons got away with a rookie backline in Origin I - AJ Brimson was exceptional and Kurt Capewell played the game of his life. But the Blues had a plan for Capewell's edge in game two while the loss of Brimson was massive.

Even with Corey Allan coming in to replace Sami, that inexperienced back five – other than Gagai, who has been a standout in both games – will again be a target.

There is also the mental toll of being beaten by a 34-10 margin just a week ago and how quickly they can recover in the face of a confident NSW team.

Even with some big ins and a parochial home crowd at their back, overturning that sort of performance in seven days is a huge ask.

Thurston gets his first Origin try in 2005 decider

The fact the Blues are able to take in an unchanged side is also massive in such a short series, with only seven days between games.

Yes, it's Origin, and anything can happen – but a lot would have to go wrong for NSW for this not to turn into their third straight series win.


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The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.

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