Who will win next week's State of Origin series opener in Brisbane? The NRL.com experts have their say.
NRL.com's experts view
Brett Kimmorley (Former NSW halfback)
NSW to win by 4. Both sides have picked younger kids with an eye on the future. Cody Walker is someone I'm excited to see – I think he will be great in the game. I can't wait to see the two fullbacks go head-to-head and just do some things that will have us thinking how lucky we are to be watching them.
Steve Renouf (Maroons legend)
Kevin Walters will have this Maroons side ready to go. The team knows how important it is to win game one this year with the last two games on the road. I am tipping Maroons to win by six.
Jamie Soward (Former Blues five-eighth)
The Blues to win by a point. Damien Cook's in explosive form, Nathan Cleary is the right choice at halfback, James Tedesco is the best fullback in the world and they've got the stronger forward pack. I'm tipping them to win the series 3-0 as well.
Origin special - Breaking down the big game
Chris Kennedy (NRL.com reporter)
For all the talk about Blues being heavy favourites the teams look incredibly even to me. If Brad Fittler can get the new halves pairing to click, the NSW forwards should ensure enough chances for them to claw a tight win. Blues by 4.
Margie McDonald (NRL.com senior reporter)
Queensland to win by 6. The key will be the Maroon's edge in the halves with new skipper Daly Cherry-Evans and his Test halves partner Cameron Munster to create havoc for the Blues.
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 1 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- Nine Network
Paul Suttor (NRL.com editor)
NSW should win the first game of the series due to their dominance in the forwards, coupled with the untested but complementary halves duo of Nathan Cleary and Cody Walker. Blues by 8.
Tony Webeck (NRL.com reporter)
As much as I smell an ambush coming on, the power of the NSW pack combined with the devastating running game of Damien Cook might be too much for the Maroons to contain for 80 minutes. I'm tipping the Blues to go 1-0 up with a 24-14 win.
Brad Walter (NRL.com senior reporter)
The Blues ended Queensland's era of domination last season with a new-look team and coach Brad Fittler has stuck to his policy of selecting players in form. With Inglis and Slater joining Smith, Cronk and Thurston in Origin retirement, the Maroons are in a rebuilding phase and have had to select players out of position. Blues to win by 2.
Joel Gould (NRL.com reporter)
The Maroons have selected a side with the right balance of youthful energy, attacking brilliance and experience to beat the Blues in game one at Suncorp Stadium. While the forwards appear evenly matched, to me it is Queensland's scintillating fullback Kalyn Ponga and ultra-confident five-eighth Cameron Munster who I expect to break the game open. Ponga is in electric form and in tandem with Munster will give the left side attack added potency. For mine, the Maroons to win by 10.
The moment Ofahengaue learnt he'd be a Maroon
Maria Tsialis (Big League editor)
Though much of the favouritism is leaning toward, I do think it will be closer than we expect. I have New South Wales by 4.
Lone Scout (NRL Fantasy expert)
Queensland may be the underdogs but they've got an edge in the halves in terms of both talent and experience, so if their forward pack can match the Blues' intensity they could get the points. I'll tip the Maroons by 4.
Alicia Newton (NRL.com reporter)
The Maroons will be fired up after last year's defeat and look too good on home turf with that spine looking too strong. I'm tipping Queensland to win by 10. I expect the Blues to bounce back in game's two and three though and take out the series.
Corey Rosser (NRL.com reporter)
New South Wales by four. The Blues have the better team on paper and should have too much class in a close one.
Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)
Kevin Walters' declaration of war means that the NSW Blues will likely go into game one as underdogs, but I still think that the Blues will win game one by 8 points. The Blues have attacking weapons all over the field and despite the strength of Queensland's pack, I think Queensland will find it hard to contain the likes of Latrell Mitchell, James Tedesco and Josh Addo-Carr.
Jonathan Healy (NRL.com reporter)
New South Wales have a bit too much depth and can win the opening match of the series by 10 points.
Kenny Scott (NRL.com podcaster)
You heard Kevin Walters right? Queensland will win game one. It's war! Aware his team needed a big firing-up, Walters has gone and guaranteed a Maroons victory in game one which is exactly what the state and the series needs. Queensland have the edge in both Origin and NRL experience and this, combined with that vicious Queensland crowd, will carry them home for the opening game.
Have the Blues got it right with Walker and Cleary?
Dan Walsh (NRL.com reporter)
NSW by 4 points. Queensland will come closer than expected, riding the atmosphere of Suncorp and the combined brilliance of Cam Munster and Kalyn Ponga. But with the Blues holding the edge up front, their own strike weapons in James Tedesco and Latrell Mitchell will have more to work with and get them home.
Tanisha Stanton (NRL.com reporter)
NSW by 12. They've got an edge in the forwards, have an explosive weapon at dummy-half in Damien Cook, and know what it takes to win after getting the job done last year.
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