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Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Queensland can stay in touch as new-look sides begin State of Origin

New South Wales favourites for game one

Dane Gagai passes the ball during a Queensland Maroons training session
1 of 1

Queensland v New South Wales
Game One, Sky Sports Arena, 11am Wednesday

Queensland have dominated the State of Origin series in recent years, claiming the Shield in 11 of the last 12 years.

But responsibility for continuing that run falls on a new set of shoulders and bookmakers are far from convinced the Maroons are up to the task.

For the first time since 2003, Queensland will line up without any of their influential spine of Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater.

Slater is injured, while the others have retired, and things threatened to get even worse for the Maroons when last year’s Wally Lewis medal winner Dane Gagai suffered a hand injury in training.

Gagai has been passed fit to play but Queensland are the biggest price they have ever been to win an Origin series at 15-8.

But New South Wales, too, have plenty of new faces including coach Brad Fittler.

He has named 11 debutants in his squad which features a pacy all-new three-quarter line of Tom Trbojevic, Latrell Mitchell, James Roberts and Josh Addo-Carr.

The first game takes place at the neutral venue of the MCG before heading to New South Wales territory at ANZ Stadium on June 24.

The last seven Origin series, and 17 of the last 18, have been decided in the third clash and neutrals will be hoping that’s the case again at Suncorp Stadium on July 11.

With so many newcomers to Antipodian sport’s most fierce rivalry, both teams could take their time to settle in. That could help outsiders Queensland to stay within a six-point handicap.

Recommendation
Queensland +8
1pt 10-11 bet365


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Queensland will line up without any of their influential spine of Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater
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