With everything that is going on with the world, it's almost slipped through that tonight will see the third and final game in this year's State of Origin series.

On one side we have the all-conquering NSW Blues aiming for a dominant 3-0 sweep, the likes that we've never seen before.

Opposing them is the beaten down QLD side looking to avoid the embarrassment of losing three straight games in their own state.

The saying goes that in Origin there is no such thing as a dead rubber, and I'd even go so far as to argue that tonight may be the most important 'dead rubber' game in recent history.

NSW v QLD - State Of Origin: Game 1
TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 09: Jarome Luai of the Blues points at Daly Cherry-Evans of the Maroons during game one of the 2021 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on June 09, 2021 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Origin Watch has previously discussed the dominance across this series and the relative ease in which NSW recaptured the Shield in 2021. As a NSW fan I take great pleasure after having to endure QLD's almost decade-long run of dominance.

As a Rugby League fan though, I almost hope that QLD can cause a major upset tonight ... almost!

A NSW win tonight, despite missing their two superstar halves, would do huge damage to QLD for the future. A QLD win tonight won't undo the damage of Games One and Two, however it will allow something for the future stars from north of the Tweed to build upon.

Queenslanders will be quick to remind everyone that they won the series in 2020. NSW rebounded quickly to recapture the title within (literal) record time. So why can't they?

2020's series was a once-off. An end of year, three-week contest that probably won't be replicated again any time soon, if ever.

It's also worth noting that the Blues were missing the two superstars of this year's series in Tommy Turbo and Latrell Mitchell. I'm not making excuses for the Blues, but both centres have proven their worth to say the least.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 27: Tom Trbojevic of the Blues makes a break during game two of the 2021 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on June 27, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The series was also razor thin and could have been won by NSW in Game Three, which was a decider.

To sum up, the series was close and really could have gone either way. QLD were just better in the big moments and wanted it more.

2021's series has not been to a similar tune. It has not come down to moments. Not for one single second has QLD lead, at any stage. In 160 minutes of football they've scored one try.

NSW could run out, barely touch the ball and cop 40 and it wouldn't matter.

For Queensland though, whilst the series may not be on the line tonight, EVERYTHING else is.

Watch Origin Three's move north discussed on Rugby League Outlaws

Paul Green said something a little worrying in an interview on NRL 360 last night on Fox when he suggested that QLD's next generation may be "two or three years" away.

Reece Walsh, Sam Walker, Xavier Savage. Three supremely talented footballers. Two emerging superstars and a player who is going to join them by the end of the season now that he's been named as Canberra's fullback.

Three players with undoubted Origin in their future. Whether or not that is 2022 is up for debate but the fact the QLD'ers named Reece Walsh to start for Game Two before injury ended those plans suggests they may be fast tracked.

Green's comments suggest that the current QLD lineup may be the best they've got for the next series or two. Of course Harry Grant comes back in and makes a huge difference, while there may be a change or two, but the fact remains this is the likely nucleus of their 2022 squad.

during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session at the Cbus Super Stadium on June 22, 2021 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

If they run out tonight and are played off the park with NSW missing their six and seven, then the QLD'ers' best bet for next season is to sit and hope NSW suffer injuries.

Is this series ends up 110+ to 6 it may have long lasting affects on the series moving forward.

I'm not one of these "Origin is dead" if one team dominated types. Even when QLD were dominating, the series was still hotly contested. NSW embraced the challenge and took multiple, unsuccessful, shots at ending the streak.

The general feeling is that Origin suffers when QLD is losing regularly. I call rubbish on that, but of course it is far more fun when it's 16-all in the decider with a few minutes to go.

For the sake of QLD's 2022 series, the current squad needs to come out and win tonight. Or close to it. A 24-20 loss to the most dominant NSW side in recent history provides something to build on. A 40-0 loss does not.

State of Origin - QLD v NSW: Game 1
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 04: Cameron Munster of the Maroons looks to offload the ball during game one of the 2020 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at the Adelaide Oval on November 04, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

It sounds super obvious but it needs to be the belief of QLD players and staff as they run out tonight.

Likely incoming coach will not want to bring Walsh and Walker into camp next year on the back of a 3-0 whitewash, let alone on the back of three straight floggings.

Bringing those youngsters in, with a new coaching staff which itself brings fresh ideas and belief, on the back of a win and with confidence high, is a far more favourable position.

2021 is lost. Tonight's result though could go a long way to shaping how the series shapes up in 2022 and beyond.