State of Origin 2021 game 3: NSW Blues vs Qld Maroons – live!
It’s a cool evening on the Gold Coast with the small chance of a shower drifting through. The northerly breeze may have a role to play in the aerial kicking game.
Tom Trbojevic, James Tedesco, or Latrell Mitchell? Is anyone else in the mix?
Positive news about the Rugby League World Cup:
In case you need more detail on the Dragons drongos, here’s the latest.
Nick Tedeschi fears for Queensland, and by extension Origin itself:
Emma Kemp sets the scene:
If Brad Fittler is to etch his name in Origin folklore as a series-sweeping coach he will have do so with a new halves pairing after Penrith guns Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai were ruled out through injury. Mitchell Moses will debut at scrum-half, with Jack Wighton moving from the bench to five-eighth.
Dale Finucane is another new face, replacing the injured Daniel Saifiti. Api Koroisau joins the interchange.
1. James Tedesco, 2. Brian To’o, 3. Latrell Mitchell, 4. Tom Trbojevic, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Mitchell Moses, 10. Junior Paulo, 9. Damien Cook, 18. Dale Finucane, 11. Cameron Murray, 12. Tariq Sims, 13. Isaah Yeo.
Int: 14. Api Koroisau, 15. Angus Crichton, 16. Payne Haas, 17. Liam Martin
There’s some belated good news for Paul Green on the selection table with Kalyn Ponga finally fit to return from injury at fullback and AJ Brimson is on the benchafter missing game two through injury. 19-year-old debutant Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow comes into the group in the centres, while Ben Hunt moves from the pine to nine. Tom Flegler sneaks his way onto the interchange at the last minute.
Andrew McCullough and Kyle Feldt are dropped from the starting XIII, while David Fifita misses through suspension, and Jai Arrow for being a plonker.
1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Valentine Holmes, 3. Dane Gagai, 4. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, 5. Xavier Coates, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Christian Welch, 9. Ben Hunt, 10. Josh Papalii, 11. Kurt Capewell, 12. Felise Kaufusi, 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui.
Int: 14. AJ Brimson, 16. Moeaki Fotuaika, 18. Francis Molo, 20. Tom Flegler.
Hello everybody and welcome to live coverage of State of Origin Game III between Queensland and NSW. Kick-off at Gold Coast’s Cbus Super Staidum is 8.10pm.
What should be a banner night for the NRL hasn’t arrived with the same momentum as usual. The pandemic has again flushed rugby league north, to a state on the receiving end of back-to-back Origin humiliations, and acutely aware of the likelihood of a third. Throw in the numbskullery of Jai Arrow, Paul Green’s thousand-yard stare, community-wide blowout fatigue, and the fallout from the Dragons shambles, and you have a sport in a curious wrinkle, and a dead rubber it’s hard to get too excited about.
Doubtless my generalisations are being met with scoffs in parts of NSW. A third shield in four years already secured, the prize of a first series sweep since 2000 (and the first for either side since 2010) is just the tonic many Sydneysiders will be craving as the reality of lockdown bites.
“It’s pretty special, some of the best players in the game at the top of their game,” purred Blues skipper James Tedesco after game two.
It is unfortunate that more Blues fans have not had the privilege to witness this magnificent side in the flesh with tonight’s match the third of the series to take place north of the Tweed. There will be 27,000 or so on the Gold Coast, including a smattering of visiting fans, but far from the tens of thousands that would have blown the roof off the Olympic Stadium celebrating their side’s extravagant talents.
As well as lauding NSW one final time tonight, it could be a landmark for Queensland if they suffer another crushing defeat. Green does not look set for a long tenure as coach, while senior players must be anticipating some blowback. “If you’re not winning games of footy the coach and playing group, in particular the leaders, come under the most scrutiny,” captain Daly Cherry-Evans said during the week. “If we get a win tomorrow night it’s going to help Greeny retain his job – and players like myself – but I’m really confident in where we are and what we’re doing.”
I’ll be back with line-ups and more shortly, and if you want to contribute anything to tonight’s blog, you can do so by sending me emails or tweets.