The 2017 State of Origin series reaches the all-important second game on Wednesday, with New South Wales (NSW) looking for just their second series win in 12 years as they look to slow down Queensland’s (QLD) dominance. If NSW can back up their win in game 1, where they were comfortable 4-28 winners at Suncorp Stadium, they will claim their second series since 2014.
Game 2 will be played at ANZ Stadium, which should give NSW a boost with home advantage. However, their record over the last 10 years at ANZ is patchy, with QLD claiming eight wins compared to NSW’s seven over that period. Of those games, QLD have won more in game 1 (three wins to two losses) and in game 3 (two wins to one loss). Most importantly, NSW have won more in game 2 (three wins to two losses). Despite this, NSW’s win at Suncorp in game 1 was huge and went against their historic problems at the ground. Before that game, NSW had a win percentage of just 35% at Suncorp, with QLD also boasting 11 wins from the last 14 matches played at their home venue for a win percentage of 79%.
If NSW want to claim this series, having to return to Suncorp to do so in game 3 may be a tough ask, so winning game 2 could be their best hope. Last year, we looked at the outcomes in game 2 following a QLD win in game 1, which showed that a NSW win followed in 59% of games. QLD improved their record in that respect by winning game 2 last year, but with NSW taking the spoils in game 1 this year, we can look at this from a different angle. When the Blues have won the first game of the series (17 times before this year), they have won the second game 53% of the time (nine times).
In recent history, it’s generally been New South Wales who have chopped and changed their squad in an attempt to change their fortunes. However, it’s Queensland's turn to change tact this year following the Blues’ dominant display in game 1. Kevin Walters is able to recall Johnathan Thurston after he missed game 1 through injury, whilst also offering an Origin lifeline to Billy Slater after he proved his fitness following a year out. As well as this, the Maroons offer debuts to no less than four players with Coen Hess, Valentine Holmes, Tim Glasby and Jarrod Wallace making their Origin bows. NSW have named an unchanged side and it’s no surprise after how well they played in game 1. Their dynamic pack was too much to handle for a laboured QLD side but the changes that the Maroons have made could see them get themselves back into this series. QLD are fielding one of their most inexperienced sides in years having lost plenty of Origin games from the players making way for the fresh blood. It should be a much closer game than the series opener but the Maroons can sneak it with Thurston pulling the strings.