Preview Sport

State of Origin Preview – Queensland Maroons

$4.30 at PlayUp

Fresh off one of the biggest beatdowns in State of Origin history, the Queensland Maroons will be desperate to turn the tables and avoid the embarrassment of a straight-set defeat when they host Game 2 at Suncorp Stadium.

The Brisbane ground has been a strong home for the Maroons over the years, and they will need it to serve that purpose here. Being beaten 2-0 is one thing but being beaten 2-0 when both games are in your home state would be one of the greatest embarrassments in Origin history.

While they have only lost 20 games out of the 57 played at Lang Park, giving them a nearly two in three success rate, it will need to be an incredible factor if they are to turn around the statistical anomalies of Game 1.

Instead of being competitive, the Maroons were blown off the park and, while they weren’t helped by being understrength, it wasn’t even close to an Origin-level performance. Christian Welch was also taken out of the game early with a failed HIA, only adding to the problems for the Maroons.

Simply put, the single biggest area of improvement must be in the back five for Queensland. The team were dominated there at both ends of the park in Game 1, making ten errors and 12 missed tackles between them. It allowed the Blues to run up a cricket score, scoring try after try on either edge of the park.

Queensland has made the decision to dump Xavier Coates from the side, but whether that’ll help anything remains to be seen. Valentine Holmes is moving from fullback to wing, but he is the single-worst ball-handler in the competition with 29 errors to his name already this season, seven ahead of the second-placed Blake Ferguson.

On top of that, for the Maroons to turn things around, they will need to increase their return in kick return metres, which tallied just 94 in Game 1, with 60 of them coming from Holmes himself at fullback. Reece Walsh, who averages 131 metres per game in his seven appearances, could improve that situation, however, with just seven NRL games to his name, it remains to be seen how he will handle the Origin arena.

Provided the back five can turn out an improved performance and mitigate some of the 600 running metres difference between the two sides from Game 1, then the Maroons will be better-prepared upfront. Christian Welch playing bigger minutes would help, but so will the return of Josh Papalii.

Suspended for Game 1, the Raiders’ enforcer is one of the best props in the competition. While he has never had amazing numbers at the Origin level, much of that is down to reduced minutes. Almost half of his metres in last year’s series came as post-contact metres, his ability to put New South Wales on the back foot a constant threat to Brad Fittler’s side.

For the men from north of the Tweed to win, he will have to be on song, and so will the rest of the forwards. Should the Maroons defend with just 82 per cent efficiency again, making over 50 missed tackles, then they will be staring at a similar scoreline come 10 pm on Sunday.

The Maroons can turn this around, but it would take an ambush. It’s hard to see them winning, even if this one will be closer than the bloodbath in Townsville.


For free and confidential support call 1800 858 858 or visit