While many wouldn’t have seen it as a possibility, Origin III is placed as a series decider that is anyone’s for the taking after New South Wales denied the Maroons any chance of clinching the series early in game two.
The Blues tied up the series with some comfort in their 34-10 win over Queensland last week and will be hoping for more of the same as they’re set to line up at Suncorp Stadium with an unchanged unit in front of a near-sellout crowd of roughly 50,000 fans.
The Maroons have named three changes for their home-leg fixture, with Wests/Melbourne young gun Harry Grant set to make his State of Origin debut at 22-year-old.
Rabbitohs flyer Corey Allan and Melbourne prop Christian Welch join Grant as the inclusions into Wayne Bennett’s side, with Ben Hunt and Moeaki Fotuaika dropping to the reserves while Phillip Sami falls out of the side.
Grant will man the bench after an impressive 2020 campaign that saw him claim the Dally M and RLPA Rookie of the Year awards and will add plenty of flare in the No.14 jumper.
While the changes were demanded following the Maroons’ game two efforts, it’s hard to see how much influence the alterations will make following a difficult 80 minutes last Wednesday.
The Blues dominated in almost every aspect of the match, with the NSW wingers licking their lips on multiple occasions as they outnumbered the Maroons defense and found ground past the try line.
Josh Addo-Carr scored two tries in the romping at ANZ Stadium and will be eyeing off the the Wally Lewis Medal if the Blues can clinch their third straight series.
Brad Fittler was wrapped with his side's tenacity and intent following on from tying up the series and will demand more of the same at Suncorp.
The Maroons played out exactly how many thought they may have at some point of this series, with the squad inexperienced and lacking the edge on paper and evidently on the field too.
While any of the licensed betting sites will have the Blues as comfortable winners, you can never put a line through a Maroons side playing in front of their home crowd.
Weaknesses for the Maroons are riddled throughout the side but there is plenty of upside in this underdog outfit.
Teenager Xavier Coates has been exceptional in his debut series, while Cameron Munster will add plenty of flare to the side if he is to overcome a concussion test in the build up to Origin III.
For the Blues, their centre pairing of Jack Wighton and Clint Gutherson hasn’t quite reached the limits Fittler had originally hoped for and have proven to be a vulnerable duo defensively.
If the Blues can keep the ball out wide and in the hands of Addo-Carr, Cody Walker and James Tedesco, they should cruise to a victory.
The Blues have only managed to win two game three deciders in Queensland from a possible 11 and will need to overcome history to claim the 2020 series.
The Maroons will need to do the unthinkable in overcoming one of the strongest NSW sides of recent time with an undermanned and inexperienced squad at the disposal of Wayne Bennett.
No matter the result, Wednesday night is set to be a spectacle to remember.