Origin tipsters unanimous: QLD have no chance

 

Maroons coach Wayne Bennett has hit back at critics of his injury-plagued squad, which has been derided as Queensland's worst State of Origin team in 25 years.

Bennett says Queensland's new-look team will muscle up to the Blues in tonight's Origin opener at Adelaide Oval.

It is the first time in history that an Origin match will be played in South Australia, with the crowd capped at 27,750 - half the Adelaide Oval capacity ­- due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Queensland skipper Daly Cherry-Evans will be the senior figurehead among eight Maroons debutants, including A.J. Brimson, Xavier Coates, Kurt Capewell, Brenko Lee, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Jake Friend, Lindsay Collins and Jaydn Su'A.

WHAT TIME IS GAME 1 IN EACH STATE?
QLD: 7:10PM
SA: 7:40PM


NSW: 8:10PM

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Bookmakers have installed the Blues as hot $1.34 favourites to win a third straight Origin series, but Bennett scoffed at suggestions the Maroons would lose 3-0.

This is Queensland's greatest challenge since 1995, when the Paul Vautin-coached Maroons - dubbed "Neville Nobodies" - overcame the loss of star Super League-aligned players to beat NSW 3-0 in the greatest upset in Origin history.

"I have faith in the quality of players here," Bennett said.

"We believe we have picked the best players we can and after that, I have to give them confidence to get the job done. What the critics or NSW want to say has no relevance to me."

EXPERT TIPS: WHO WILL WIN?

MATTY JOHNS

NSW by 2

Man of the match: Nathan Cleary

First try: Josh Addo-Carr

The match-breaker: The Energizer bunny Cameron Murray will terrorise the Maroons, his up-tempo footy and quick play-the-balls will be a thorn in Wayne Bennett's side.

DEAN RITCHIE

NSW by 14

Man of the match: Luke Keary

First try: Daniel Tupou

The match-breaker: Jack Wighton's power on the edges will prove too much for the Maroons to deal with.

NICK WALSHAW

NSW by 16

Man of the Match: Luke Keary

First try: Jack Wighton

The match-breaker: Debutant Luke Keary will thrive for the Blues, with the Roosters' playmaker able to pick and choose his moments as Nathan Cleary takes care of the steering.

PHIL ROTHFIELD

NSW by 8

Man of the match: Nathan Cleary

First try: Clint Gutherson

The match-breaker: Nathan Cleary will bounce back from the disappointment of grand final defeat to steer the Blues home.

NICK CAMPTON

NSW by 12

Man of the match: Damien Cook

First try: Josh Addo-Carr

The match-breaker: I'm expecting huge things from the Blues' left-hand side attack - Jack Wighton and Luke Keary could strike up an instant combination.

PAUL KENT

NSW by 12

Man of the match: Jake Trbojevic

First try: Nathan Cleary

The match-breaker: Nathan Cleary will form a great combination with Luke Keary and steer the Blues to victory.

PETER BADEL

NSW by 8

Man of the match: Luke Keary

First try: AJ Brimson

The match-breaker: Queensland's young forwards will be hungry and energetic but the playmaking class of Luke Keary will shine through in clutch moments for the Blues.

MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

NSW by 10

Man of the match: Junior Paulo

First try: Luke Keary

The match-breaker: The Blues' big men will power through the middle allowing the likes of Luke Keary, Nathan Cleary, Damien Cook and James Tedesco to create inroads.

FATIMA KDOUH

NSW by 10

Man of the Match: Luke Keary

First try: Jack Wighton

The match-breaker: The Blues' back five are all in fine form and will cause the Maroons plenty of problems.

DAVID RICCIO

NSW by 10

Man of the match: Jack Wighton

First try: Josh Addo-Carr

The match-breaker: The Blues have a far superior bench to the Queenslanders, boasting speed, power and an attacking flare that the Maroons just don't have.

PAUL CRAWLEY

NSW by 14

Man of the match: James Tedesco

First try: Daniel Tupou

The match-breaker: Roosters' superstar James Tedesco has enjoyed a freshen up and will cause headaches all night for Queensland up the middle.

Originally published as Origin tipsters unanimous: QLD have no chance


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