2024 State Of Origin Game 1 Preview

The 2024 State of Origin series gets underway in Sydney on Wednesday night – and somewhat inevitably New South Wales is the team under intense scrutiny, despite their underdog status with a new coach and a host of debutants.

Will the Blues’ bold selection strategy pay dividends up against a settled Queensland squad that has won three of the past four series?

Capitalising on home advantage in game one shapes as being absolutely vital to NSW’s chances of wresting the Origin Shield back from the Maroons.

NSW Blues vs QLD Maroons
Wednesday 5 June, 8:05pm, Accor Stadium

Michael Maguire’s first NSW squad raised a few eyebrows, with the axing of James Tedesco after 22 straight matches as the Blues’ fullback – including the last 11 as skipper – the major talking point.

But new No.1 Dylan Edwards undoubtedly belongs at this level, while a three-quarter that includes fellow debutants Joseph Sua’ali’i and Zac Lomax is brimming with size and strike.

In-form Jarome Luai and Nicho Hynes (who is under an injury cloud, with Matt Burton the likely replacement) is probably the best halves combination NSW could have picked with Nathan Cleary unavailable and Mitch Moses sidelined for the past two months.

Overlooking Api Koroisau at hooker may come back to haunt Maguire.

Reece Robson is a strong, hardworking hooker but doesn’t possess the same spark. Starting lock Cameron McInnes is the dummy-half cover.

Angus Crichton is in top form and Haumole Olakau’atu and Hudson Young give the Blues enviable punch on the edge from the bench.

But Payne Haas – who is yet to put his stamp on an Origin contest – shoulders a big load up front alongside captain Jake Trbojevic and sole bench prop Spencer Leniu.

Lack of backline and halves cover is a gamble, though the four-forward approach could pay off if there’s no midgame injury setbacks.

The striking element of the NSW line-up, however, is the lack of genuine representative leadership.

Luai is by far the most Origin-experienced member of the spine and has regularly fallen short in this arena and Cameron Murray’s injury arguably leaves the Blues a forward leader short.

Queensland’s build-up has been comparatively smooth, despite injury claiming perennial Origin dominator Cameron Munster and the earlier scratching of enforcer Tino Faasuamaleaui.

Tom Dearden was sensational on debut in the No.6 in the 2022 decider and is a luxury to have as a deputy, while Daly Cherry-Evans is playing as well as ever, Reece Walsh is the game’s most dangerous player, and the one-two punch of hookers Ben Hunt and Harry Grant gives the Maroons a clear edge.

The rest of Billy Slater’s squad more or less picked itself, though overlooking strike forward David Fifita could backfire and finding a way to inject Selwyn Cobbo – arguably their best outside back – from the bench may prove tricky.

There’s far more scope in the Maroons side to navigate in-game contingencies, while their three-quarter line selections have always stepped up at Origin time, as have forwards Reuben Cotter, Lindsay Collins and Patrick Carrigan, J’Maine Hopgood is the only debutant and should thrive.

The Blues have a 21-10 record at Accor Stadium, winning four of the last five encounters in their backyard – including an impressive 24-10 dead-rubber result with Moses and Cody Walker steering the ship in Cleary’s absence.

But in series openers in Sydney, the count is just 5-4 in NSW’s favour with Queensland taking out the last three.

The Munster-inspired Maroons prevailed 16-10 in an unlikely Game 1 upset there in 2022.

Whether favourites or rank outsiders, the bananabenders shown a far greater ability to find their feet from the outset of a series.

They’ve prevailed in 10 of the last 15 series openers, including four of the last five. Last year’s late rally to win 26-18 in Adelaide was one of the great wins.

NSW’s slew of new combinations, the heat on Hynes to run this team in his first Origin start and the high proportion of debutants renders this arguably the Blues’ toughest game one assignment since the Maroons’ golden era of Lockyer, Thurston, Smith, Cronk et al ended.

Queensland has not won by more than six points in Sydney since 2009, while 12 of the last 14 Origins at Accor Stadium have produced 32 points or less.

There doesn’t seem any real danger of the visitors running away with it, but the unfamiliar favourite tag in enemy territory is hard to argue with when it comes to the State Of Origin odds.

Tip: Back Queensland to Win @ $1.80

First Try Scorer: Stephen Crichton (NSW) @ $13

Man of the Match: Daly Cherry-Evans (QLD) @ $8.00



NSW hosts the 2022 series opener, aiming to defend the title they won in devastating fashion in the first two games last year, 50-6 and 26-0, on Queensland soil.

But the Maroons were buoyed by a gritty dead-rubber victory, while the appointment of the legendary Billy Slater as coach – with the likes of Cam Smith and Johnathan Thurston among his right-hand men – has energised the underdogs from north of the border.

Brad Fittler’s backline selections raised a few eyebrows.

A mainstay and prolific try-scorer of the past four series, Josh Addo-Carr was dumped in favour of Roosters beanpole winger Daniel Tupou. The contentious centre spots went to Brisbane enigma Kotoni Staggs and Canberra five-eighth Jack Wighton, with Penrith’s Stephen Crichton to debut off the bench.

It certainly doesn’t have the same aura as a three-quarter contingent containing Latrell or Turbo.

But the Blues’ 2021 series-winning spine is intact and the pack mostly picked itself, though Tariq Sims was perhaps lucky to get a second-row spot ahead of Tyson Frizell and Angus Chrichton. Ryan Matterson will debut off a young bench.

Queensland has new faces but few surprises. Debutants Selwyn Cobbo, Reuben Cotter, Jeremiah Nanai and Patrick Carrigan demanded selection. Virtually every other Maroon has proven themselves at Origin level.

Kalyn Ponga may have had a scratchy start to 2022, but Cam Munster and Daly Cherry-Evans are in peak form. Ben Hunt’s selection at hooker is an interesting one, but Harry Grant is an explosive proposition off the bench.

NSW has won the last three Sydney-hosted Origins. The most recent clash, the Blues’ 34-10 blowout victory during the unique 2020 series, was the first at ANZ (now Accor) Stadium decided by more than 10 points since 2004 – a run of 19 tight games. Twelve of those featured margins of five or less.

The last two Sydney showdowns also produced totals of 44-plus; the previous 10 saw a maximum of 34 points scored, with five witnessing totals of 22 or less. The total line is set at a low 36.5 points but the under still looks to be the play with 11 of the last 16 Origins overall producing 34 or less.

The Blues will be keenly aware of the importance of this showdown – this is their only home game of the series and they’ve only won two series in the last 27 years after dropping game one…and both of those were at Suncorp Stadium, with a fixture in Sydney later in the rubber to look forward to.

The Penrith connection that runs through the NSW line-up is a significant advantage, though there’s a similar Melbourne thread running through the Melbourne team sheet.

Queensland has had a patched-together look since their posse of future Immortals retired. But this looks the most even Origin on paper in years with a nice mix of wily experience and dynamic youth – all boasting tremendous NRL form – on the Maroons’ side of the fence.

The Blues’ best should be too good, but there’s a sense of vulnerability around them heading into this series and there’s no obvious areas where they can lay claim to a genuine advantage over their Maroons, who shape as a solid option to cover on Wednesday night.

Tip: Back Queensland to Cover the Line (+3.5) @ $1.90



This year’s State of Origin opener will have a unique feel to it as a sellout crowd in Townsville will make its presence felt on Wednesday night.

After losing the 2020 series to the worst ever Queensland side in Origin history, the Blues will have a chip on their shoulder heading into Game 1 as they look to forget all about the embarrassment served to them in last year’s decider.

The Maroons, meanwhile, have a long list of injuries to overcome, but there’s no denying the Queensland spirit can carry Paul Green’s men towards another historic upset.

Nothing tops the drama of State Of Origin, so be sure to find out who we’re tipping in our Game 1 Preview below!

State of Origin Teams

Queensland Position New South Wales
Valentine Holmes Fullback James Tedesco
Xavier Coates Winger Brian To’o
Kurt Capewell Centre Latrell Mitchell
Dane Gagai Centre Tom Trbojevic
Kyle Feldt Winger Josh Addo-Carr
Cameron Munster Five-Eighth Jarome Luai
Daly Cherry-Evans Halfback Nathan Cleary
Christian Welch Prop Daniel Safiti
Harry Grant Hooker Damien Cook
Tino Faasuamaleaui Prop Jake Trbojevic
David Fifita Second Row Cameron Murray
Felise Kaufusi Second Row Tariq Sims
Jai Arrow Lock Issah Yeo
Alexander Brimson Interchange Jack Wighton
Jaydn Su’A Interchange Junior Paulo
Moeaki Fotuaika Interchange Payne Haas
Joe Ofahengaue Interchange Liam Martin
Coen Hess Reserve Api Korisau
Ben Hunt Reserve Campbell Graham
Paul Green Coach Brad Fittler

Head to Head & Line Betting

The Blues have opened -4.5 favourites ahead of Game 1 as they look to take full advantage of an injury-depleted Queensland side.

The Maroons were dealt a serious blow earlier in the week with Kalyn Ponga ruled out with a groin injury, which in turn has seen Kyle Feldt called up from the reserves as Valentine Holmes shifts over to fullback.

The Blues have a few injury concerns of their own heading into Wednesday night, but they do look the healthiest of the two teams.

Brad Fittler’s top two playmakers, Josh Addo-Carr and James Tedesco, are both set to play through respective hip injuries, while there’s also some good news on the Payne Haas front with the Broncos prop named on the bench.

On paper, NSW are hands down the much stronger side and they should be winning Game 1 on talent and depth.

Fittler has been forced to include a couple of debutants (Jarome Luai and Brian To’o) in his backline, but both should be helped enormously with two experienced minds like Tom Trbojevic and Nathan Cleary alongside.

Out wide, the Blues have speed to burn, and they should also feel good about the fact they feature five Penrith Panthers in their lineup.

You can never discount a Cameron Munster-inspired upset from the Maroons, but all of the above is a strong recipe for handling a volatile Townsville crowd if NSW can simply limit the mistakes that cost them in Game 1 last year.

With tremendous depth to overcome any sin-binning controversy, the Blues look like a good bet to cover what is a fairly generous line all things considered.

Tip: Back the Blues to Cover the Line (-4.5 Points) @ $2.00

Total Points

We’re expecting a dry deck in Townsville on Wednesday night, but that isn’t to say we’re in for a high-scoring game.

Nine of the last 10 Origin Game 1’s have gone under, leaving the current 42.5 line looking a little ambitious.

The Maroons and the Blues combined for only 32 points in Game 1 in Adelaide last year, and it’s very difficult to imagine Queensland scoring many points with several key pieces missing.

This game will likely be won and lost in the back line, so if the Blues dominate like they should, the under looks like a fairly safe bet.

Tip: Under 42.5 Total Points @ $1.90

First Try Scorer

The NRL’s leading try-scorer Josh Addo-Carr has opened the $9.00 favourite in First Try Scorer Origin betting, followed closely by new inclusion Brian To’o as the Panthers winger takes his spot opposite the ‘Foxx’.

Both are definitely worth including in your multis, but there is something to be said for Tom Trbojevic after missing the entirety of last year’s series.

Looking at the two teams side by side, the Blues have a clear advantage with Turbo, Latrell Mitchell and James Tedesco to choose from on attack.

Really, you can’t go wrong with any of those names, but Trbojevic does stand out at decent odds in his first Origin appearance since 2018.

If you fancy a Queenslander to cross the line first, look no further than Xavier Coates.

The 20-year-old was enormous in Game 1 last year scoring a crucial try in the second half, while he was also the First Try Scorer in Game 2.

Opportunities against this NSW backline might be slim, but you can never discount an athlete of Coates’ ability.

Tip: Tom Trbojevic @ $13.00 & Xavier Coates @ $11.00

Man of the Match

It’s really hard to go past James Tedesco when it comes to Man of the Match.

The greats save their best work for the big stage, and that was certainly the case last year for Teddy when he scored two tries in both Games 2 and 3.

Unfortunately, Tedesco watched Queensland lift the shield from the sidelines last year after he was knocked unconscious by Jai Arrow, so he shouldn’t be short of motivation heading into Wednesday’s opener.

If the new-look Blues back-line settles in nice and early, there’s no question Tedesco will leave his mark on this game.

Tip: James Tedesco @ $7.00


The Adelaide Oval will play host to State of Origin’s belated Game 1 on Wednesday night in what is shaping up to be one of the most one-sided series in the history of the competition.

After claiming the shied 2-1 last year, the Blues are out for their first three-peat since 2005.

Now as short as $1.26, New South Wales has seen steady support all year to win the series, largely due to Brad Fittler’s enviable list of talent.

If you believe in miracles, Queensland remain the value at $3.80 as Wayne Bennett hopes to pull off what would arguably be one of the greatest upsets of his storied career.

State of Origin is always an exciting time of year, and with all three games set to be played over the next three weeks, be sure to find out who we’re backing in Game 1 below!

State of Origin Teams

Queensland Position New South Wales
Alexander Brimson Fullback James Tedesco
Xavier Coates Winger Daniel Tupou
Brenko Lee Centre Clinton Gutherson
Dane Gagai Centre Jack Wighton
Phillip Sami Winger Josh Addo-Carr
Cameron Munster Five-Eighth Luke Keary
Daly Cherry-Evans Halfback Nathan Cleary
Christian Welch Prop Daniel Saifiti
Jake Friend Hooker Damien Cook
Josh Papalii Prop Junior Paulo
Felise Kaufusi Second Row Boyd Cordner
Coen Hess Second Row Tyson Frizell
Tino Faasuamaleaui Lock Jake Trbojevic
Ben Hunt Interchange Cody Walker
Lindsay Collins Interchange Payne Hass
Jai Arrow Interchange Cameron Murray
Jayden Su’A Interchange Angus Crichton
Kurt Capewell Reserve Cameron McInnes
Wayne Bennett Coach Brad Fittler

Head to Head & Line Betting

The Blues are laying -8 at the line ahead of Wednesday’s opener as they attempt to move one step closer to achieving full-blown dynasty status.

New South Wales actually lost last year’s Game 1 in a four-point upset at Suncorp, and it’s safe to say the neutral turf in Adelaide should make for interesting viewing this time around.

The Blues are stacked from top to bottom with last year’s Wally Lewis Medal winner James Tedesco headlining the long list of mainstays at fullback.

Last week’s Clive Churchill Medal winner Ryan Papenhuyzen has missed out on a spot through a calf injury, but the Blues certainly won’t be lacking speed with last year’s Game 2 hero Josh Addo-Carr earning a start on the wing.

The Blues do have a few new faces returning, the most noteworthy being Daniel Tupou, who will now play his first game with the squad since 2015.

Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker has been named to the bench behind Luke Keary, while Clinton Gutherson will make his Origin debut partnering Clinton Gutherson in the centre.

As for Queensland, things are looking a little more shallow in terms of experience.

Wayne Bennett has been forced to get creative naming a handful of newcomers to the side, which could on one hand prove disastrous, or on the other, provide the Maroons the spark they desperately need.

Captain Daly Cherry-Evans is back for another year alongside other familiar faces like Cameron Munster, Dane Gagai and Josh Papalii.

Further down the list, talentedTitans youngster AJ Brimson will play his first Origin game at fullback, joining Xavier Coates, Phillip Sami, Jake Friend, Brenko Lee and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui also on debut.

There’s no denying this Maroons squad looks frisky on paper, but considering Bennett has been forced to throw this side together in a hurry, it’s hard to know if they can execute a game plan, or find any real chemistry in a hurry.

It goes without saying that experience counts for a lot in Origin, and with the Blues side featuring a long list of names that have seen it all, it’s hard to go past New South Wales.

Tip: Back the Blues 1-12 @ $2.75

Total Points 

Clear skies are forecast for the city of churches on Wednesday night, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re in for a high-scoring game.

Game 1 has notoriously been a strong Under play with each of the last nine games resulting in less than 35 combined points.

You might think this talented Blues side are capable of scoring that many points all on their own, but with a somewhat mutual crowd in attendance and a fairly unfamiliar field, the 41.5 Total Points line still seems a little high.

Over 41.5
Under 41.5

Tip: Under 41.5 Total Points @ $1.90

First Try Scorer

The Maroons look their most vulnerable out wide with Phillip Sami and Xavier Coates both on debut, so the smartest play would be to back one of the New South Wales wingers to score first.

Not surprisingly, Josh Addo-Carr and Daniel Tupou both share favouritism in the First Try Scorer market and you really can’t go wrong by backing either player at value.

If you’re struggling to put your Maroons bias aside, don’t forget there’s also a ‘First Queensland Try Scorer’ market available with equally juicy odds.

Coates and Sami are the favourites for similar reasons to the ones listed above, but don’t sleep on the old vet Dane Gagai getting in on the action.

The 29-year-old has scored 11 tries in 13 Origin games so far, two of which came in Queensland’s Game 1 victory last year.

Tip: Daniel Tupou @ $8.00, Dane Gagai First Queensland Try Scorer @ $8.50

Man of the Match

James Tedesco is the $6.00 favourite in early Man of the Match betting, but due to a few concerns surround his fitness, you might be better off playing it safe by looking somewhere else.

Nathan Cleary stands out at $7.00 despite last week’s shortcomings in the Grand Final.

After so much disappointment on the biggest stage, you can bet the Blues halfback will be looking to make a statement in what will be just his sixth Origin game.

Cleary is yet to find the line in a Blues jumper, but considering he’s scored three times in his last four games, the form certainly reads well for him to have a nice day at the office.

Tip: Nathan Cleary @ $8.50


The 2019 State of Origin Series kicks off on Wednesday night as the Blues hope to accomplish something they haven’t done since 2004/05 – defend their title.

It’s the start of a new era for Queensland following Billy Slater’s retirement, pinning this year’s hopes squarely on the shoulders of Slater’s replacement Kalyn Ponga and captain Daly Cherry-Evans.

The Blues retain many of the same faces that saw them dominate last year, in particular, Latrell Mitchell and James Tedesco. They also welcome in the NRL’s leading try-scorer Cody Walker, who makes his Origin debut.

Can the Maroons pull off a Game 1 upset at home to tilt the series in their favour? Or will the Blues prove too strong as the favourites?

We’ve not only analysed the game, but we’ve also taken a peek at all of the key betting markets in our 2019 State of Origin Game 1 Preview below.

QLD Maroons vs NSW Blues
Wednesday 5 June, 8:10pm, Suncorp Stadium

Head to Head Betting

Queensland have lost their last two Origin openers at Suncorp, but that isn’t to say Wednesday’s Game 1 won’t be close.

The Maroons find themselves on the outside looking in as the $2.00 underdogs, while the Blues have been installed at a very backable price of $1.80 to open the series with a win.

New South Wales holds the clear edge on paper sporting a more experienced back-line that includes Latrell Mitchell and 14-time Origin veteran Josh Morris. Queensland entered this year’s series knowing full well this would be a “rebuild” year so to speak, but full credit to Kevin Walters and the selectors for putting together a team that features 13 starting players with at least one game of Origin experience each.

The battle at centre should be a fascinating one this year as Mitchell and Michael Morgan butt heads. Unlike Brad Fittler, Walter was forced to start more inexperienced players this year in favour of the future, which also sets up a fun battle at fullback between Kalyn Ponga, who will play in just his second Origin game, and the Blues’ James Tedesco, who scored a try in Games 1 and 3 last year.

New South Wales certainly hold an advantage on the wing as the NRL’s second-leading try-scorer Josh-Addo Carr prepares for his fourth start in Blue. The speedster poses plenty of problems for Queensland if New South Wales can stretch the ball wide, although that certainly won’t faze Dane Gagai in his 11th start as a Maroon.

On the opposite side, Corey Oates earns the nod for Queensland after scoring nine tries in the opening 11 rounds. Across from Oates will be Nick Cotric, who prepares for his Origin debut alongside Raiders teammate Jack Wighton.

Perhaps the biggest question mark for Queensland this year though is captain Daly Cherry-Evans. The 30-year-old halfback has played in eight games for the side but is yet to earn full respect from the Queensland faithful. Needless to say, a big performance against Nathan Cleary on Wednesday night might help a few Queenslanders recall just how important DCE was during their Game 3 win over the Blues last year.

If Cherry-Evans’ calf holds up and Queensland receive the very best from Cameron Munster and Dane Gagai, they could very well upset the Blues in Game 1. Unfortunately, Queensland’s forward line still looks a little thin – especially when you compare Jai Arrow to David Klemmer and Ben Hunt to Damien Cook.

Queensland learned the hard way last year just how unstoppable New South Wales’ forward line can be. In the middle the Blues are physical, and up front, they are agile and fast. Throw in the likes of Payne Haas from the bench, who has looked like a one-man wrecking ball at times this year, and the Blues should have no trouble earning a 1-0 lead.

Tip: Back New South Wales to Cover the Line (-1.5 Points) @ $1.90

Total Points Betting

Suncorp Stadium often lends itself to highing scoring Origin games, evident in last year’s 18-12 Maroons win in Game 3.

Over the last two decades, the average Total score in Brisbane is 39.9 points, which puts the Over in play on Wednesday night.

Typically speaking, the bookies tend to set a higher Total for games at Suncorp in comparison to ANZ. It appears this year the bookmakers have tempered their expectations considering Queensland’s new-look side, so take advantage of this generous line.

Tip: Over 33.5 Total Points

Over 33.5
Under 33.5

First Try Scorer

Corey Oates is currently the only player at single-digit odds to score the First Try in Game 1 for Queensland. The Broncos’ winger has scored the second-most tries in the NRL this year, while South Sydney’s Dane Gagai sits second behind Oates at $11.00.

For the Blues, it’s no surprise to see Josh Addo-Carr at $9.00 odds to cross the line first. Melbourne’s speedster scored a try in Games 1 and 2 last year for New South Wales, although it’s hard to look past Latrell Mitchell and James Tedesco – both of which have combined for 17 tries already this year.

Picking the First Try Scorer is always tricky, but there’s something to be said about debutants on the big stage. Cody Walker fits that bill, and as the league’s leading try-scorer, he looks nice odds to get the Blues on the board first on Wednesday night.

Tip: Cody Walker First Try Scorer @ $19.00

Man of the Match

Damien Cook played a pivotal role for New South Wales last year leading the way in tackles in all three games. It’s a thankless job, but the South Sydney hooker is poised for an even bigger role this year in the heart of the Blues’ forward line.

Cook, now in his seventh year of professional Rugby League, has been enormous for the Rabbitohs setting up tries on the fast break. His agility and speed have complimented the likes of Dane Gagai and Sam Burgess nicely, while it’s not surprising to learn he leads the league in try assists and also ranks fourth in tackles.

With those kind of numbers, Cook at $7.00 makes perfect sense for Man of the Match honours.

Tip: Back Damien Cook To Be Named Man of the Match @ $7.00

State of Origin Game 1 Teams

Queensland Position New South Wales
Kalyn Ponga Fullback James Tedesco
Corey Oates Winger Nick Cotric
Michael Morgan Centre Latrell Mitchell
Will Chambers Centre Josh Morris
Dane Gagai Winger Josh Addo-Carr
Cameron Munster Five-Eighth Cody Walker
Daly Cherry-Evans Halfback Nathan Cleary
Jai Arrow Prop David Klemmer
Ben Hunt Hooker Damien Cook
Josh Papalii Prop Paul Vaughan
Felise Kaufusi Second Row Boyd Cordner
Matt Gillett Second Row Tyson Frizell
Josh McGuire Lock Jake Trbojevic
Moses Mbye Interchange Jack Wighton
Joe Ofahengaue Interchange Payne Hass
Dylan Napa Interchange Cameron Murray
David Fifita Interchange Angus Crichton
Tim Glasby Reserve Ryan Matterson
Kevin Walter Coach Brad Fittler


The 2018 State Of Origin Series gets underway in Melbourne on Wednesday and this is a series that will truly be a changing of the guard – no matter what the result.

Queensland will go into this series without Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and a host of other players that have been stalwarts during their recent State Of Origin dominance, while New South Wales will also have a new-look outfit.

Will New South Wales finally take control or will Queensland find a way to win once again?

We have closely analysed both sides ahead of the opening game of the series and our complete 2018 State Of Origin tips can be found below.

QLD Maroons vs NSW Blues
Wednesday 6 June, 8:00pm, MCG

State Of Origin Game 1 Tips

Head To Head Betting

The market suggests that the dominance of Queensland will end during the 2018 State Of Origin Series and New South Wales are clear favourite in our State Of Origin Game 1 betting market.

New South Wales are $1.60 to start the series with a win, while Queensland have drifted out to $2.30 following the representative retirement of Cam Smith a fortnight ago.

The problem for punters is that New South Wales have let them down on some many occasions in recent years – most memorably in Games Two and Three  12 months ago – but this is a new look New South Wales outfit that doesn’t have the mental scars of Blues sides past.

This is easily the most attacking side that New South Wales have picked for over a decade and they have a backline that is packed full of game-breakers.

The likes of Josh Addo-Carr, Latrell Mitchell and James Roberts all have speed to burn and this will be a very stern defensive test for Greg Inglis, Will Chambers, Dane Gagai and Valentine Holmes.

The forward pack is another area of strength for New South Wales and there is every possible chance that they could simply batter Queensland up the middle – exactly like they did in the opening game of the series last year.

Selectors have taken a chance on young half Nathan Cleary, but he is a player that plays with an enormous amount of maturity and the fact that he has club teammate James Maloney next to him is a big advantage.

On paper, there is no doubt that New South Wales have the edge, but lucky for Queensland State Of Origin games are not played on paper.

There are not as many new faces in the Queensland side, but what is more notable is the number of Origin stalwarts that are not in this side – there is no Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott or Darius Boyd.

Kevin Walters didn’t have as many options as Brad Fittler and he has been forced to pick a few players that aren’t in great form, but this is still a strong side.

There is plenty of pressure on the young halves combination of Ben Hunt and Cameron Munster and this is a huge test for Hunt.

Hunt does have a reputation for not being a big-game player – whether deserved or not – but there will be nowhere for him to hide on Wednesday night and it will be his responsibility to lead this Queensland side around the park.

The Maroons do have more depth in the forwards than they have had in recent years and all three of their interchange forwards are capable of contributing, while Michael Morgan has shown on a number of occasions how dangerous that he can be at this level.

The issue for Queensland is that they don’t have the explosiveness that New South Wales have in both their backs and their forwards and the Maroons best chance is if this clash is a fairly dour, low-scoring clash like State Of Origin games have been in recent years.

This really is an incredible opportunity for New South Wales and if this side fires they are more than capable of recording a big win.

Back New South Wales To Cover The Line (-4.5 Points)

Total Points Betting

The recent history of State Of Origin has been dominated by tense, low-scoring affairs and incredibly the Under has saluted in the past seven State Of Origin Games 1s.

I don’t normally like to go against history, but I think that this could change in 2018 and the Total Points line has been set at only 34.5 points.

New South Wales especially have selected a side that is packed full of attacking weapons and it would be a big surprise if they don’t go into this clash with a more expansive game plan than what they have in recent years.

That should really open this contest up and if that is the case the Total Points line of 34.5 points will not be anywhere near enough.

Back Over 34.5 Points

First Try Scorer

It is Josh Addo-Carr ($10) that is a narrow favourite in our State Of Origin First Try Scorer betting market from Tom Trbojevic ($11), Dane Gagai ($12), James Roberts ($12), James Tedesco ($12) and Latrell Mitchell ($12).

I expect that New South Wales will control the early stages of this clash and a number of their players hard in the market do look like excellent value.

Josh Addo-Carr has a history of scoring tries in big games – he scored the first try in the 2017 NRL Grand Final – and he can score from anywhere on the field.

He must be included at $10.

The other players that are capable of doing just that are James Roberts and Latrell Mitchell.

It is uncanny how often a debutant will score the first try in a State Of Origin game and I’m keen to back each of the New South Wales attacking trio.

Back Josh Addo-Carr @ $10, James Roberts @ $12 & Latrell Mitchell @ $12 To Score The First Try

Man Of The Match

It is James Maloney ($8) that is currently on top of our State Of Origin Man Of The Match betting market from Greg Inglis ($9), James Tedesco ($9), Nathan Clearly ($10) and Ben Hunt ($12).

There is a great deal of pressure on Ben Hunt and if Queensland are going to win this game, he needs to stand-up and produce one of the best games of his career to date.

If he does that, he will be noticed and the $12 for him to be named Man of The Match does appeal.

Damien Cook is one of the most exciting players in the NRL at the moment and he looks like a player that is perfectly suited to the State Of Origin arena.

The New South Wales forwards should lay a platform for him and it would not surprise if he was able to take advantage in a big way.

Back Ben Hunt @ $12 & Damien Cook @ $13 To Be Named Man Of The Match

State Of Origin Game 1 Teams

Queensland Maroons

1. Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm)
2. Valentine Holmes (Cronulla Sharks)
3. Greg Inglis (c) (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
4. Will Chambers (Melbourne Storm)
5. Dane Gagai (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
6. Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm)
7. Ben Hunt (St George Illawarra Dragons)
8. Dylan Napa (Sydney Roosters)
9. Andrew McCullough (Brisbane Broncos)
10. Jarrod Wallace (Gold Coast Titans)
11. Gavin Cooper (North Queensland Cowboys)
12. Felise Kaufusi (Melbourne Storm)
13. Josh McGuire (Brisbane Broncos)

14. Michael Morgan (North Queensland Cowboys)
15. Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)
16. Coen Hess (North Queensland Cowboys)
17. Jai Arrow (Gold Coast Titans)

Coach: Kevin Walters

New South Wales Blues

1. James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters)
2. Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne Storm)
3. James Roberts (Brisbane Broncos)
4. Latrell Mitchell (Sydney Roosters)
5. Tom Trbojecvic (Manly Sea Eagles)
6. James Maloney (Penrith Panthers)
7. Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers)
8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Penrith Panthers)
9. Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
10. David Klemmer (Canterbury Bulldogs)
11. Boyd Cordner (c) (Sydney Roosters)
12. Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra Dragons)
13. Jack de Belin (St George Illawarra Dragons)

14. Tyrone Peachey (Penrith Panthers)
15. Jake Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles)
16. Paul Vaughan (St George Illawarra Dragons)
17. Angus Crichton (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Coach: Brad Fittler


The 2017 State Of Origin Series gets underway in Brisbane on Wednesday and we are set for a typically competitive series between two of the greatest rivals in Australian sport.

Both teams have made a couple of controversial selection calls – the inclusion of Mitchell Pearce for New South Wales and the exclusion of Billy Slater for Queensland – and anticipation for this clash is about to reach fever pitch.

We have closely analysed both sides ahead of the opening game of the series and our complete 2017 State Of Origin tips can be found below.

QLD Maroons vs NSW Blues
Wednesday 31 May, 8:00pm, Suncorp Stadium

State Of Origin Game 1 Tips

Head To Head Betting

It is Queensland that are currently on top of State Of Origin Game 1 betting markets at a quote of $1.75, but that could easily change if Johnathan Thurston does not take his place for the Maroons.

Thurston has been named as 18th man for Queensland – with Anthony Milford selected as 5/8 – but all reports suggest that Thurston will be given up until gameday to prove his fitness.

Update: Thurston has been officially ruled out of the opening game of the 2017 State Of Origin Series.

This is just one of a number of fascinating story lines in play heading into what is set to be one of the most fascinating State Of Origin games in recent memory.

New South Wales do look to have a clear edge in the forwards and there is no doubt that Laurie Daley will go into this series with another very conservative game plan.

The problem for New South Wales in recent years is that they have been unable to make that dominance in the forwards count and half-back is a position that they have struggled with badly during this period of sustained Queensland dominance.

Laurie Daley has gone back to Mitchell Pearce and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this is the wrong decision.

Pearce has now played 15 State Of Origin games and won just four of them, while even more worrying for New South Wales fans is the fact that he has lost his six previous State Of Origin games at Suncorp Stadium.

There is no argument that Cooper Cronk is a substantially better player than Pearce in the State Of Origin environment and even without Thurston the halves is one area in which Queensland do have the edge over New South Wales.

The issues for Queensland will not just be in the forwards, which does lack depth following the retirement of Corey Parker and the season-ending injury to Matt Scott – but also in the outside backs.

Corey Oates and Justin O’Neill have both struggled badly for form this season and O’Neill in particular is capable of being badly exposed defensively.

There is obvious strengths and weaknesses for both these sides and that makes separating them extremely difficult, but there is little doubt this will be an extremely close game.

The one betting market that really does stand out is the Tribet and the $2.65 available for Either Team To Win by Under 6.5 points really does look like outstanding value.

Back Either Team To Win By Under 6.5 Points @ $2.65

Total Points Betting

The Total Points line has been set at 34 points.

This would be an extremely low line for a regular NRL fixture, but in terms of State Of Origin it is likely to prove more than enough.

There was only ten points scored in the opening game of the 2016 State Of Origin Series and less than 34 points has been scored in the opening game of every series since 2010.

Since 2011, less than 34 points have been scored in ten of the past 15 State Of Origin games and backing the Under continues to be a highly profitable betting play.

Back Under 34 Points

First Try Scorer

The First Try Scorer betting market is always one of the most popular in State Of Origin and our record in recent seasons has been outstanding.

Corey Oates ($9) is currently a narrow favourite in First Try Scorer betting markets from Brett Morris ($10), Dane Gagai ($10), Blake Ferguson ($12), Darius Boyd ($13), James Tedesco ($13), Jarryd Hayne ($13) and Will Chambers ($13).

There is no doubt that Hayne’s form for the Gold Coast Titans has been inconsistent at best this season, but he is a player that loves the big occasion and his State Of Origin record can’t be denied.

Hayne will be marked by Justin O’Neill and it is easy to see Hayne exposing the Cowboys flyers’ defensive vulnerabilities.

The New South Wales forward that stands out at a nice price is Tyson Frizell.

He was outstanding in his first State Of Origin Series last year and he is a proven try scorer at club level.

Anthony Milford remains likely to make his State Of Origin debut and if he does so he is another player that represents value in this betting market.

Milford is capable of creating a try from anywhere on the field and it is easy to see him taking advantage of tired defenders in the second half of the first half.

Rounding out our first tryscorer tips at a big price is big Sydney Roosters forward Dylan Napa.

Napa is the type of forward that was born to play State Of Origin and in a low-scoring game it would not be the biggest surprise if he was able to cross for a crucial try.

Back Jarryd Hayne @ $13, Anthony Milford @ $15, Tyson Frizell @ $23 & Dylan Napa @ $51 to score the first try

Man Of The Match

Cameron Smith is currently on top of 2017 State Of Origin Man Of The Match betting markets at a quote of $5 from Cooper Cronk ($6), Darius Boyd ($9), Mitchell Pearce ($10), James Tedesco ($11) and Boyd Cordner ($13).

There is no doubt that Cooper Cronk will be the key man for Queensland and he is going to need to have a monster game if the Maroons are any chance to beat New South Wales in the absence of Johnathan Thurston.

Tyson Frizell is a player that is capable of taking the next step this series and it would not surprise if he proved to be the best forward on the ground in State Of Origin 1, which makes him excellent value at the current price of $26.

Jarryd Hayne has been the man of the match on a number of occasions in State Of Origin and he is another player that stands out at the current price of $26.

Back Cooper Cronk @ $6, Jarryd Hayne @ $26 & Tyson Frizell @ $26

State Of Origin Game 1 Teams

Queensland Maroons

Darius Boyd (Brisbane Broncos)

Corey Oates (Brisbane Broncos)

Will Chambers (Melbourne Storm)

Justin O’Neill (North Queensland Cowboys)

Dane Gagai (Newcastle Knights)

Anthony Milford (Brisbane Broncos)

Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm)

Nate Myles (Manly Sea Eagles)

Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm)

Dylan Napa (Sydney Roosters)

Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)

Matt Gillett (Brisbane Broncos)

Josh McGuire (Brisbane Broncos)


Michael Morgan (North Queensland Cowboys)

Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos)

Aidan Guerra (Sydney Roosters)

Jacob Lillyman (New Zealand Warriors)

New South Wales Blues

James Tedesco (Wests Tigers)

Blake Ferguson (Sydney Roosters)

Josh Dugan (St George Illawarra Dragons)

Jarryd Hayne (Gold Coast Titans)

Brett Morris (Canterbury Bulldogs)

James Maloney (Cronulla Sharks)

Mitchell Pearce (Sydney Roosters)

Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers)

Nathan Peats (Gold Coast Titans)

Paul Gallen (Andrew Fifita)

Josh Jackson (Canterbury Bulldogs)

Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters)

Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra Dragons)


David Klemmer (Canterbury Bulldogs)

Wade Graham (Cronulla Sharks)

Jake Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles)

Jack Bird (Cronulla Sharks)


The opening game of the 2016 State Of Origin Series will be held at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday June 1.

This will be the first State Of Origin game played since the Queensland Maroons inflicted an embarrassing defeat on the New South Wales Blues in the final game of the 2015 State Of Origin series and the second series in a row in which the opening game has been played at ANZ Stadium.

Can New South Wales win in front of their home fans or will the Queensland juggernaut continue? Below you can find the teams, betting markets and recommended betting plays for a wide range of markets for the State Of Origin Game 1.

NSW Blues vs QLD Maroons
Wednesday 1 June, 8:05pm, ANZ Stadium
NSW Blues 4 - QLD Maroons 6

New South Wales have moved into favoritism for State Of Origin Game 1 after Queensland halfback Cooper Cronk suffered an ankle injury at Maroons training.

New South Wales are now available at a quote of $1.88, while Queensland are priced at $2.05 to make a winning start to the series.

State Of Origin Game 1 Tips

Head To Head Betting

The opening game of a State Of Origin series is generally a very tight affair and the market indicates that we can no expect no different in 2016.

The news of Cooper Cronk’s injury saw the odds of New South Wales shorten, but it now appears likely that the Melbourne Storm halfback will take his place in the Queensland side.

This will be crucial as Queensland have really struggled without Cronk in recent seasons and it was his absence that proved a telling factor in 2014 when the Blues were finally able to record a breakthrough series win.

While I expect there to be very little between the two teams, there are a number of factors that do give a slight edge to Queensland.

The Maroons have beaten the line in four of the past five State Of Origin games and they have proven to be very strong defensively, restricting New South Wales to less than 20 points in one of the past nine State Of Origin games.

ANZ Stadium was once a fortress for New South Wales, but they have lost six of the past ten and two of the past three games played in front of their home fans.

As long as Cronk is cleared to start, the $2.05 on offer for a Queensland victory is a touch of overs.

Recommended Bet: Back Queensland @ $2.05

The 2016 State of Origin series kicks off Wednesday night and we’re celebrating one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year with a massive offer! The betting market between the Blues and Maroons is close so we’re sweetening the pot with $2 lines for both sides!

Margin Betting

New South Wales 1-12 ($2.75) is a narrow favourite from Queensland 1-12 ($3), New South Wales 13+ ($5.75) and Queensland 13+ ($6).

13 of the last 16 State Of Origin games have been decided by less than 12 points and New South Wales have not won a game by 13+ since game three in 2007, so there is no clearly no value in New South Wales by the extended margin.

Queensland have won three games by 13+ since 2010, but all of those wins came at Suncorp Stadium and they have never won a game at Suncorp Stadium by more than two converted tries.

The $3 available for Queensland to win by 1-12 is clearly the best betting play in margin betting markets, while the $2.50 for either win to win by less than 6.5 points is also worth consideration.

Recommended Bet: Back Queensland (1-12) @ $3

First Try Scorer

The first tryscorer betting market is always one of the most popular for every State Of Origin game and this year will be no exception.

Corey Oates ($9) is currently a narrow favourite in our betting market from Blake Ferguson ($10), Josh Mansour ($10), Dane Gagai ($12), Greg Inglis ($12) and Josh Morris.

Corey Oates is a noted tryscorer and he has scored the first try three times in 11 games this season for the Brisbane Broncos.

The Maroons love attacking towards his wing and he is the safest first tryscorer bet.

Debutantes are always a good bet in State Of Origin betting markets and Josh Mansour is another proven try scorer that needs to be considered.

His teammates will be keen to get him an early touch and he is the best bet for New South Wales.

The roughie that stands out at his current price of $17 is Justin O’Neill.

O’Neill is a noted speedster that is capable of scoring from anywhere on the park and there is no way that he should be as long as $17.

Recommended Bet: Back Corey Oates ($9), Josh Mansour ($10) and Justin O’Neill ($17) to score the first try.

Man Of The Match

It should come as no surprise that Johnathan Thurston ($7) is the favourite in man of the match betting markets from Cameron Smith ($9), Cooper Cronk ($9) and Paul Gallen ($9).

Thurston has been man of the match in five State Of Origin games since 2007 and he is the obvious selection, but Cameron Smith also has five man of the match awards and could be the difference maker in a close game.

Greg Bird often saves his best rugby league for State Of Origin and he is another player with multiple man of the match awards to his name.

At $17 he is definitely the value selection in this betting market.

Recommended Bet: Back Cameron Smith ($9) and Greg Bird ($17) To Be Named Man Of The Match

State Of Origin Game 1 Teams

New South Wales Blues

Matt Moylan (Penrith Panthers)

Blake Ferguson (Sydney Roosters)

Michael Jennings (Parramatta Eels)

Josh Morris (Canterbury Bulldogs)

Josh Mansour (Penrith Panthers)

James Maloney (Cronulla Sharks)

Adam Reynolds (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers)

Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers)

Paul Gallen (Cronulla Sharks)

Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters)

Josh Jackson (Canterbury Bulldogs)

Greg Bird (Gold Coast Titans)


James Tamou (North Queensland Cowboys)

David Klemmer (Canterbury Bulldogs)

Dylan Walker (Manly Sea Eagles)

Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks)

Queensland Maroons

Darius Boyd (Brisbane Broncos)

Corey Oates (Brisbane Broncos)

Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Justin O’Neill (North Queensland Cowboys)

Dane Gagai (Newcastle Knights)

Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)

Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm)

Matt Scott (North Queensland Cowboys)

Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm)

Nate Myles (Manly Sea Eagles)

Matt Gillett (Brisbane Broncos)

Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos)

Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos)


Michael Morgan (North Queensland Cowboys)

Josh McGuire (Brisbane Broncos)

Aidan Guerra (Sydney Roosters)

Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)