Can the Blues make it three series in a row? Will playing Origin at the end of the season change anything? How much will squad depth matter with just seven days between matches?
All those questions, and many more, will start to be answered when the Ampol State of Origin series starts at Adelaide Oval on November 4.
As a new-look Maroons team prepares to carry the hopes of Queensland into Origin's first foray into South Australia, the experts at NRL.com have had their say on who they think will take out the series opener.
The Maroons coaching team of Wayne Bennett, Mal Meninga and Neil Henry will get the boys up for Game One. Yes, they are inexperienced as a squad but on this occasion, the Maroons are true underdogs and I think that will work in their favour like it did in 1995 and 2001. Queensland by 4.
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NSW by 20. They have the culture in place and all the players have been playing for longer in the NRL. They'll be better prepared for the big stage.
Blues by 16. Queensland will get better as the series goes but NSW will come out firing with plenty of key players coming from the finals teams in form and raring to go.
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Everything's set up for Queensland to cause a major upset - they're being written off left, right and centre, they've supposedly got very few players of Origin calibre and NSW are invincible. This story has happened several times before pre-game only for the Maroons to emerge triumphant. Maroons by 2
There are some very exciting debutants in the Maroons squad this year, but in the series opener I'm expecting the Blues to win. They have the experience and the consistency and I see Queensland struggling to keep up with the likes of Ryan Papenhuyzen, Josh Addo-Carr and Damien Cook. Blues by 8
With the Maroons seriously down on troops, plus with the three Queensland clubs having not played since round 20, the Blues are justifiably huge favourites to win this series. NSW by 12.
NSW by 10. The Blues have won the past two series under Brad Fittler and boast too much depth and experience for a Maroons squad hit hard by injuries to key players and a late change of coach.
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Queensland will be inexperienced and young but their enthusiasm and willingness to go above and beyond will be the key to Game One. I expect the battle-hardened Storm contingent in the squad to play a key role and a refreshed Daly Cherry-Evans to have a night to remember. Maroons by 2.
Blues by 13+. The Maroons have a huge number of players unavailable from a smaller base while the Blues have the key players from their back-to-back series wins returning alongside a host of in-form players from the finals series.
Match: Blues v Maroons
Game 1 -
Venue: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Blues by 14. NSW will opt for a supremely mobile forward pack that should thrive with Origin's pace set to increase under the six-again rule. Dynamic hooker Damien Cook will be licking his lips at the quick play-the-balls he's set to receive.
Queensland by 4. Wayne Bennett will want to strike early to let everyone know he's back. Five Melbourne players storming into the Maroons on a high certainly can’t hurt. I also think the Test halves being reunited in Cherry-Evans and Munster might be too strong first-up.
The Blues look more settled and will open the series with a comprehensive win in Adelaide. Plenty of options for Brad Fittler to choose from, including Clive Churchill Medal winner Ryan Papenhuyzen, who would be a sensation off the bench. Blues by 12
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The Blues will win Origin I. They not only have the best team on paper, but they have a strong spine and several strike players across the park compared to their opposition. NSW by 10.
Blues by 6. The Maroon dynasty days are long gone and, while the team still has tremendously talented players, their depth will be tested. Coming off the back of a torturous season they’ll give it their all in game one, but will come up just short.
The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARL Commission, NRL clubs or state associations.