Will Queensland wrap up a surprise series win in Perth or will NSW bounce back to square the series on Sunday night? The NRL.com experts have their say.
NRL.com's experts view
Brett Kimmorley (Former NSW halfback)
NSW have brought some special players in Tom Trbojevic, Wade Graham and James Maloney back into the team. They all love to keep playing football and moving the ball, and I love what Dale Finucane will bring into the side. Blues by 4.
Steve Renouf (Maroons legend)
For me the scene has been set. Queensland to win the game and wrap up the series before heading to Sydney to complete a clean sweep. The fact they are playing in Perth and not Sydney suits the Maroons, and they'll be looking to take advantage of a panicked Blues team under the pump.
Margie McDonald (NRL.com senior reporter)
The Blues will square the series. They'll play with more urgency than they did in game one and will benefit from the inclusion of Wade Graham and Tom Trbojevic. There's nothing like feeling kicked from pillar to post to get the 'I’ll show you' juices flowing. A state under siege is a state on a mission – so stand by!
Tanisha Stanton (NRL.com reporter)
The Blues will prevail by 8, setting up a game three decider in Sydney. In game one NSW were far from their best and only lost by four points to a Queensland side that dominated the second half. Regardless of the changes that were made NSW still have a solid line-up and they'll want it that little bit more than the Maroons when push comes to shove down the stretch.
Paul Suttor (NRL.com editor)
Queensland have got everything in their favour - a settled squad which has not panicked at a neutral venue where they will have convinced the locals that they are the underdogs to get them on their side. Maroons by 4.
Joel Gould (NRL.com reporter)
The Maroons should wrap up the series in Perth as they have by far the most settled squad and plenty of improvement left in them. The Queensland team's spine of Kalyn Ponga, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans and Ben Hunt has only upside to it. They will fire at Optus Stadium. Queensland by 10.
Tony Webeck (NRL.com reporter)
A shortened preparation and confidence buoyed by a game one win makes it hard to go past the Maroons. Too many variables for the Blues to tip them with any confidence whatsoever. Queensland would've come out of game one convinced they're the better team and will be keen to prove it.
Chris Kennedy (NRL.com reporter)
After changing my mind a few times I’ve been sold by the Blues’ team changes to take advantage of a dry, hard track in a more open game. NSW 28-22.
Lone Scout (NRL Fantasy expert)
Like game one this feels like a coin toss, and I’ll give a slight edge to Queensland who now have the more settled side with winning form while somehow maintaining underdog status.
Maria Tsialis (Big League editor)
Every bone in my body is against a dead rubber so I have to tip NSW for this game - in addition to the inclusions on the bench in Wade Graham, Tariq Sims and Dale Finucane, which I think are very strong.
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 2 -
Venue: Optus Stadium
- Nine Network
Zac Bailey (NRL.com reporter)
The Blues. Simply, they have to. Queensland have always performed when they’ve been up against it with their backs against the wall. NSW have to prove they’re made of the same stuff and are capable of upsetting the new series favourite.
Michael Chammas (NRL.com chief reporter)
NSW will come into this game as the underdogs but the inclusion of James Maloney is a huge boost. Maloney hasn’t played a bad game in blue and they wouldn’t have won last year’s series without him. Expect him to be the best player on the field in a 19-18 Blues win.
Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)
The NSW Blues will win Game II and take it to a series decider in Sydney. The addition of James Maloney will greatly assist Nathan Cleary in the halves and for me, NSW lacked size off the bench in Game I. Freddie's changes to the pack should bring added strength to the squad.
Brett Keeble (NRL.com reporter)
The Blues have an edge with the mobility of their bench and the addition of Wade Graham gives them a threat they didn't have in game one. The spine looks a little more settled with two halves from the same club and James Maloney is built for big games. When you throw in the desperation factor, it adds up to the Blues winning by 6.
Kenny Scott (NRL.com podcaster)
Origin produces stories and the impending NSW victory, with James Maloney as man of the match, will go down in Origin folklore as a stroke of genius from Brad Fittler.
Jonathan Healy (NRL.com reporter)
NSW by four. They will be disappointed with their performance in the opening match and can atone to send the series to a decider. Look for standout performances from their big-game players like Maloney, Cook and Tedesco.
Alicia Newton (NRL.com reporter)
As usual there'll be nothing in it, but the Blues should just get home on the back of a do or die mentality to keep the series alive. The new players who came into the side are under pressure to prove they're up to the task, but it's the spine of Cook, Tedesco, Maloney and Cleary that will lead the way. NSW to win 16-12.
Brad Walter (NRL.com senior reporter)
NSW by 2 – The Blues have a mobile pack and the return of James Maloney provides experience, leadership and a kicking game that was missing in Origin I.
The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.