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Will Blues capitalise on Maroons’ disruptive Origin II preparation?

Bottom line.
Daly Cherry-Evans plays for Queensland then the Maroons are a chance of saving the State of Origin series.
If he doesn’t – despite the fact that Ben Hunt is clearly on the rise – then NSW will more than likely seal their first series win since 2005.
DCE proved that on one leg he has the capacity to weave his magic following Manly’s recent hammering of Canterbury.
The fact that Queensland have delayed naming their final 17 proves that they’re giving their key players every chance to take the field.
Billy Slater has been given the green light, but how fit will DCE and Greg Inglis be come kick off?
Manly proved in last year’s grand final – when they clearly took a number of busted players into the game – that when it comes to the crunch they just didn’t have anything left in the tank as the Roosters cut loose in the final 20 minutes.
And the Maroons want to take injured players into a crucial Origin match!!!!!
The return of Sam Thaiday is a shot in the arm for Queensland, but the Blues have every reason to feel buoyant with Greg Bird returning to the side.
Although NSW has suffered these past eight years, Josh Dugan has made an impact at fullback and coach Laurie Daley had no hesitation naming him in the centres.
Will it work or will it backfire?
Considering that Dugan has made an impression as a fullback in the NRL for the Raiders and Dragons, and not as a centre, then NSW fans have every right to feel nervous.
Dugan has one good game in the centres for the Dragons against the hapless Sharks and that’s enough to convince Daley that he’s the right fit for Origin in the absence of Josh Morris.
It’s a huge risk, but Daley was keen to go into the match with players who had Origin experience.
Aidan Guerra proved that debutants – if they’re playing good football in the NRL – can stand tall in the Origin arena following his impressive display in Origin I.
And what’s wrong with Tigers centre Chris Lawrence, who is extremely under-rated.
Will Hopate was always going to play for NSW when Brett Morris succumbed to injury.
Despite a clearly disruptive preparation for Game 2, Queensland still boast better players and it would be ridiculous to write them off because in Origin I they were the only team who looked like scoring in the second half.
NSW defended admirably in Game 1, but to have any chance in Sydney they desperately need to find variety in attack.
Paul Gallen, Robbie Farah and Bird, as well as Trent Hodkinson, Michael Jennings and Dugan have to find that spark and not leave it up to Jarryd Hayne.
Losing Cooper Cronk to injury rocked the Maroons to the core in Brisbane, which perhaps confirmed to a lot of people that it’s not Johnathan Thurston or Cameron Smith who guides the Queensland ship after all.
And critics argue that Cronk should be punted for Cherry-Evans.
Go figure.
The loss of the Morris twins is massive for NSW because it was they who nullfied that lethal Greg Inglis-Darius Boyd combination down the left flank three weeks ago when Queensland were in the midst of their traditional late second half surge.
NSW supporters have every reason to feel optimistic when it comes to Origin II, but the simple facts are that Queensland have more weapons in attack.
A loss for the Blues in Sydney will see the Maroons grow another leg for Game 3 back in Brisbane.
Victory for the Blues would end eight years of torment for NSW supporters, but Queensland supporters will be quick to point out that injuries denied their team of making it nine series wins in a row.
Supporters of the Maroons have spruiked the success of their side for the past 30 years when they have fought back from adversity, but just imagine how they will celebrate if they end up winning Games 2 and 3 in 2014.
For NSW supporters, it would be unbearable and rest assured Queensland fans will rub it in with glee and delight.
Make no mistake, the Maroons can win Origin II, but if they don’t let’s hope that they accept the end to their incredible eight year domination with dignity.
Having watched every Origin game since it’s exception in 1980 and having lived in NSW and Queensland, it’s clear that supporters of the Maroons take defeat a lot harder than fans of the Blues.
For goodness sake, Queenslanders don’t even acknowledge the win by the Blues over the Maroons in California back in 1987.
Had the shoe been on the other foot those who bleed Maroon would continue to remind those who bleed Blue.
Heart says that NSW can win if they stick together as one unit, but the head says that Queensland will get the cash as they have too many players who can pull a rabbit out of the hat.
The fact that the Maroons have injury concerns leaves the door wide open for the Blues.
Finally, not knowing the Queensland line up compares to splitting teams in the NRL when it comes to making tips.
How can you settle on a side when you don’t know who is playing?
Good luck picking a winner, but, most of all, enjoy the game.





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