The third and final 2011 State of Origin tournament is looming, the do-or-die decider giving the New South Wales Blues a live-wire chance to stop the mighty Queensland Maroons from recording their sixth successive series success at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on July 6 and the teams for Origin Game 3 are beginning to take shape.
Ricky Stewart’s battling Blues fought their way back into this year’s State of Origin contest with their gritty 18 – 8 upset win over Queensland in Game two down in Sydney.
Although the New South Welshman showed great form and undying commitment in their hard-fought Origin take two victory, they are still the State of Origin betting underdogs to clinch the series paying $2.35 through Luxbet.
Queensland, for the first time in a long time, looked frazzled and not at all like the determined machine the State of Origin’s best ever team have become known to be.
Despite going down to the Blues in the second showdown, Queensland have maintained their favouritism in the 2011 State of Origin odds and are paying $1.60 through Luxbet.
State of Origin Game III teams are yet to be officially announced, but there has been plenty of speculation of who will be in and who will have to cheer on their state from the sidelines in the concluding clash that will see decorated Maroon’s skipper Darren Lockyer represent Queensland for the final time.
In an early blow for the Blues, flying young gun Will Hopoate has been ruled out of adding a second representative appearance to his NRL career before embarking on a two-year break next season.
Hopoate donned a Blues jersey for the first time when making his State of Origin debut in Game 2, which was just the 15th NRL game for him.
Nineteen-year-old Hopoate played a magic part in New South Wale’s win when scoring a stunning try, but in the process he suffered a grade two hamstring tear meaning he will miss around six weeks.
Panther’s centre Michael Jennings is tipped to replace Hopoate in the New South Wales State of Origin Game 3 line-up next month, depending on his current ankle injury.
One player that is likely to be fit and ready to return to the Origin arena for Stewart’s injury-marred Blues is Penrith back-rower Luke Lewis, who also injured his hamstring during Origin II.
Ricky is still sweating on the fitness of a number of his other boys in blue including his back-row duo of Ben Creagh (ankle) and Beau Scott (knee).
Stay tuned for the 2011 State of Origin Game Three team selections for both the Blues and Maroons ahead of next month’s super-charged showdown at Suncorp.
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