State of Origin 2021 game 3: NSW Blues vs Qld Maroons – live!

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.

The last time the Blues completed a clean sweep, they did so emphatically.
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