NSW will be hoping to claim their first State of Origin series win since 2014 where they host Queensland for Game 2 at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
Both teams are scheduled to makes changes to their line-ups this weekend; some due to injury, others to force the series into a decider for Game 3.
NSW already have one hand on the shield following an impressive performance in Game 1 earlier this month, and remain the favourites to win the 2018 Origin series.
Game 2 will take place for the first time on a Sunday since 2001 and follows the first-ever women’s Origin game which will be played at North Sydney Oval on Friday night.
New South Wales:
New South Wales produced an outstanding performance to win Game 1 in the opening match. Bringing that form into Sunday’s game would be enough to clinch their second title in 12 seasons.
Line it up 👊#uptheblues
📷 https://t.co/5uPlygspGu pic.twitter.com/7DtgZbtAJf
— NSWBlues (@NSWBlues) June 19, 2018
Coach Brad Fittler has named an extended 20-man squad for Origin 2 to cover a couple of players under injury clouds, namely, prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard (broken jaw) and Latrell Mitchell (ligament strain in the neck) – both causalities of a physical Round 15 clash between the Roosters and Panthers.
Sharks’ forward Matt Prior is expected to make his Origin debut replacing injured Dragons player Reagan Campbell-Gillard.
Queensland struggled to contain the versatile Blues’ forwards in Game 1 and looked out of the contest during the final 20 minutes.
However Queensland were missing a number of key players due to injury. The Maroons were running onto the Origin stage for the first time without Smith, Cronk and Thurston, and ultimately, stayed in the contest until the final quarter of the game. The Queensland Maroons are expected to deliver world-class performance as they tackle a must-win match in order to send the series into a decider.
.@billyslater will make a return for State of Origin Game II. The @QLDmaroons veteran was forced to step down from Game I due to a hamstring injury. #NRL #Origin #7News pic.twitter.com/lwSKVr3zwF
— 7NEWS Gold Coast (@7NewsGoldCoast) June 18, 2018
The Maroons are set to welcome back veteran Billy Slater into the fullback role, while promising young gun Kalyn Ponga will make his Origin debut. Anthony Milford has been left out of the side due to having little impact during Queensland’s defeat in Game 1. Michael Morgan has been sidelined due to picking up up a bicep injury playing for the Queensland Cowboys.
After an impressive performance in Game 1, NSW halves James Maloney and Nathan Cleary will be surely targeted by the QLD Maroons. The NSW halves dominated Game 1 giving their team plenty of good field position and were also heavily involved in the majority of points scored. If Queensland are to be of any chance of winning, Cameron Munster and Ben Hunt will need to out-shine the in-form Blues halves.
Origin 2 team line-ups:
New South Wales:
Josh Addo-Carr, Nathan Cleary, Damien Cook, Boyd Cordner (c), Angus Crichton, Jack de Belin, Tyson Frizell, David Klemmer, James Maloney, Latrell Mitchell, Tyrone Peachey, Matt Prior, James Roberts, James Tedesco, Jake Trbojevic, Tom Trbojevic, Paul Vaughan
Jai Arrow, Will Chambers, Gavin Cooper, Dane Gagai, Tim Glasby, Coen Hess, Valentine Holmes, Ben Hunt, Greg Inglis (c), Felise Kaufusi, Andrew McCullough, Josh McGuire, Cameron Munster, Dylan Napa, Josh Papalii, Kalyn Ponga, Billy Slater
Featured image from Serdar Kilic‘s Flickr account