New South Wales head into Wednesday’s second State of Origin match-up with Queensland knowing they need a victory if they are to have any chance of winning the 2020 series.
Brad Fittler’s men were the overwhelming favourites for Game 1, and they stormed into a 10-0 lead in Adelaide last week.
However, Queensland’s spirited second-half display helped them claim an 18-14 success, leaving NSW with it all to do on Wednesday.
NSW Eager to Learn From Their Mistakes
NSW’s squad have had nearly a week to learn from last Wednesday’s defeat, a game in which they dominated everything but the scoreboard.
Queensland’s exciting yet inexperienced team looked stunned inside the first 40 minutes, but an inspirational half-time team-talk from veteran coach Wayne Bennett did the trick.
The Maroons head into Game 2 knowing a win will clinch the series, but nerves will no doubt fill the dressing room ahead of kick-off.
NSW’s more experienced team should have learned their lesson, and the fact that they will play on home soil in Sydney could give them an advantage.
Walker Ready to Shine
Blues coach Fittler has already confirmed that South Sydney Rabbitohs ace Cody Walker will start in the halves this week.
Luke Keary will drop to the bench after a lacklustre display last week, and Fittler believes the familiar surroundings at ANZ Stadium will do Walker a world of good.
The game will be played at ANZ Stadium, the home of the Rabbitohs, and NSW fans will be expecting the 32-year-old to stand up and deliver when the pressure is on.
His left-footed kicking game gives NSW something different in attack and the Blues should benefit from his introduction from the start.
In front of his own fans, Walker will be looking to make a strong start inside the first few minutes and NSW need to put Queensland in their place. A high-scoring first half is very likely, and NSW are
10/11 to cover the -4.5 handicap in the first 40 minutes.
Gagai the man to watch in Queensland Maroon
Outside back Gagai has been described as a ‘different beast’ by Queensland fans after another fabulous performance in the first match.
Gagai’s display was paramount as Queensland worked their way back into the game and he does seem to find another level when wearing that famous maroon jersey.
In Game 1, he grabbed an assist, made 112 metres, while also making 20 tackles during a fine game at centre.
He will be doing everything to silence the home crowd, and while his team may be the underdogs, at
2/1, Gagai needs to be considered in the anytime tryscorer market.
*All odds correct at time of writing