Ok, it’s the eve of Origin and NRL News takes a look at who will win the war and how it will be won.
Queensland have obviously lost some raw power in Carl Webb. The big battle axe has lost the battle with his hamstring injury and won’t be in the line-up. The halves are where Queensland will be so strong – Lockyer and Thurston holding the aces in this game.
A lot of talk has centered around Jarrod Mullen and his ability to cope with the pressure. I think Mullen will be assisted by a NSW forward pack intent on laying plenty of foundation. To combat the Queensland halves, the NSW forwards must get tough and bash the Maroons back.
Queensland will really need to win the wrestle at the ruck, losing this battle will make things harder for their talent on the fringes. Queensland have done well to put the focus on Mullen – but really there is some pressure on the Queensland pack – with NSW boasting a lot of the Australian forwards.
The bench is also an interesting situation. The NSW Blues have Gidley, Bailey, Tupou and Simpson ready to rock and roll. With Kurt Gidley in top form and playing a roving role or style can be expected.
Queensland have some impact men in Neville Costigan and Jacob Lillyman but Nate Myles.and Shaun Berrigan are only finding their best form in current NRL ranks. The big force for Queensland will be Justin Hodges. The agressive former Rooster always lifts for the big occasions and Justin Hodges loves to talk it up and act the goat Anthony Mundine style – after putting his Origin disasters of yesteryear behind him – he is a key man.
Paul Simpkins plays an interesting role – as he has let things flow in 2007, unlike colleagues such as Steve ‘The Terminator’ Clark.
Simpkins’ flowing style could suit the speed game of Lockyer and Thurston – but once again if the forward battle is lost, this speed game is nullified.
With Suncorp Stadium or the Cauldron as it is known as the venue for Game 1, State of Origin 2007 – the support will be fierece and Queensland are favorites in the eyes of NRL News.
So take care at the Caxton Hotel before the big game – and good luck to both sides in the big one!