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Experts' view: Most under pressure in Origin III

With NSW sure to start the final match of the 2021 Ampol State of Origin series as hot favourites to complete a clean sweep, attention turns to which player is facing the greatest scrutiny.

Be it a chance to prove themselves at this level, one final opportunity to prove they deserve to remain at this level or even protecting their standing in the Kangaroos' pecking order, there is a lot to play for other than state pride.

Even state captain's who guided their side to an improbable series win less than a year ago aren't safe.

Experts' view - Who's facing most pressure in Origin III

Steve Renouf (Maroons legend)

There are a few players from Queensland who will be under pressure. But as captain, Daly Cherry-Evans will be feeling more pressure to lead and perform for the team.

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Brett Kimmorley (Former Test halfback)

Daly Cherry-Evans. He's been under pressure all series. The trophy is gone, but he needs to lead this team and create something in attack.

Jamie Soward (Premiership winner)

Jack Wighton. Has had an underperforming season and needs to provide not only the skill and kicking game that Luai has given NSW but also the emotion and leadership. 

Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers great)

Daly Cherry-Evans. Nobody wants to be the captain of a side on the wrong end of a whitewash. He's coming up against a rookie half and needs to steer his team to a win.

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Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League) 

It has to be Daly Cherry-Evans. He seems more concerned with not making an error during Origin rather than taking the game on like he does so well for the Sea Eagles. I suspect his Kangaroos jersey is under great pressure as well. 

Brad Walter ( senior reporter)

Josh Papalii. He missed Origin I through suspension and apart from an energetic opening few minutes had little impact in Origin II. At 29 years of age and with Canberra struggling, Papalii needs a big game to reclaim his mantle as the best prop in the game.

Paul Suttor ( editor)

With David Fifita out suspended, it's time for Felise Kaufusi to turn back the clock and make a few tackle busts to give the Maroons some impetus. Otherwise NSW will again dominate the forward exchanges and replicate their dominance of the first two games.

Alicia Newton ( reporter)

I’ll go with Mitch Moses. It’s a bit of a tricky one for Moses in that he goes into the game with the series won. However, on debut he won’t want to make it a forgettable one. When it comes to handling pressure he’s yet to truly prove himself. 

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Paul Zalunardo ( senior journalist)

Mitchell Moses. He deserves his chance but now he needs to prove he is up to this level. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Nathan Cleary will be back in the No.7 jersey next year, but a good game from Moses is still important for his own development.

Laine Clarke ( reporter)

Dane Gagai. The poor South Sydney flyer must be having night terrors by now thanks to a rampant Latrell Mitchell. Once an Origin try-scoring machine, he now needs to plug a big defensive hole in the centres. 

Martin Lenehan ( senior journalist)

The Raiders are in freefall and Jack Wighton’s form has dipped accordingly. From a Blues starter last year to the bench in games one and two this year, Wighton gets his chance back in the No.6 jersey and needs to grab it with both hands if he hopes to hold on to the Kangaroo jersey he was wearing in 2019.

Zac Bailey ( reporter)

Cameron Munster will be skanking onto the field humming The Selecter's Too Much Pressure. With the strike power of Kalyn Ponga and new boy Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow at his disposal, Queensland's No.6 needs to resuscitate the Maroons moribund attack.

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Chris Kennedy ( reporter)

Daly Cherry-Evans. He is the incumbent Kangaroos halfback, in towering form at club level and helped orchestrate a mighty upset last year yet has been well below his best in both games this series. If the World Cup goes ahead and all players are fit for selection he is a huge chance of losing his spot.

Dan Walsh ( reporter)

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow. Centre is the toughest defensive position in the game as far as split-second decisions go, and the teen speedster has played just eight of 23 NRL games there. Lines up opposite Tom Trbojevic in outrageous form, though his roving role may well take him elsewhere and prove a saving grace the Maroons rookie.

Troy Whittaker ( reporter)

Kurt Capewell was fantastic in his debut for Queensland last year but, despite trying hard, was exposed at centre by Tom Trbojevic in games one and two. Now given a chance in the second row, he needs a big performance to shore up his spot in the Maroons side.

Lone Scout ( Fantasy guru)

Daly Cherry-Evans’ grasp on the Kangaroos No.7 jersey was already shaky heading into Origin II, but a poor performance in that game all but ensured Nathan Cleary had surpassed him in the selectors’ eyes. 

Kenny Scott ( podcaster)

Jack Wighton has been deemed good enough to play Origin, but previously not good enough to play Origin in his preferred position of five-eighth. With his club form dwindling, he has now been handed that jersey. He now has the chance to prove his worth as a No.6.


Alexa (Your Trusted Voice Assistant and Footy Fan)

It’s always close when the cockroaches and cane toads clash, but I think NSW have a stronger spine this year. If you have an Alexa-enabled device, try saying, “Alexa, who will win the State of Origin?” If you don’t have one yet, you can grab one here 


With the NRL Alexa skill, you can sign up for match reminders, catch the latest news and listen live to every match of the season, including State of Origin. Just say, “Alexa, open NRL”  

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

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