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State of Origin | Free Preview | Game 1 | 2022


Preview | State of Origin | Game 1 | 2022

MrG’s handicaps, recommended plays and preview notes for this State of Origin clash



Ground: Homebush

-3.5 market line

36.5 total points (market position)


Home ground is helpful although generally far more helpful for QLD over the last 10 or so (or longer) years. NSW have won 5 of the last 9 at Homebush.


Game 1 historically when played at either of the two traditional grounds (Homebush or Land Park) is normally a low scoring tight contest, with the last 9 games delivering low total scores all under 36 points (with total points of 32, 32, 34, 32, 10, 21, 20, 18, 28, 28)


Interesting match up. Fittler has been a bit of a roller coaster since his appointment, has been some nice wins and highs but also some low offerings most notably games 1 and 3 in the 2020 series loss to Wayne Bennett and then the game 3 loss last yr after 50-6 and 26-0 wins the final game should have also been a result with some comfort.

QLD look (and by all reports) very poorly prepared last year and their camps and training sessions pretty much a debacle, while also accused of playing injured players in the opening game all of which then saw Paul Green shown the door after just one yr. Billy Slater is a winner, has always been an impressive guy and if he converts this to his coaching direction then they have already improved.

Team Selections

Firstly NSW have had some major injury issues to work around that has really put a spanner in the works of final team make up and balance. Latrell Mitchell, Tom Trbojevic and Ryan Papenhuyzen are enormous outs and so we see some makeshift and or rookie centres in Staggs and Wighton (or does Crichton start left edge?). There is no back up if required for Cook and Sims has been only just at a club level this season. But Cook at his best and then the quality halves combination and Teddy at the back if they all given some room bring high quality strike, set up and potential points while Nathan Cleary’s kicking game is outstanding.

QLD look like they have gone with the old tried and true method of their is going for workers who are in form, the middle and back row and forward rotations are all made up of guys who work hard and have a real dig, it’s worked well for them in the past and it certainly is the right path here for mine – especially against the NSW big body middle. The halves pick themselves, both Grant and Hunt can make things happen while I also like the two centers as they can defend very well and bot have a lot of experience while the two kids outside them bring some x factor (all be it potential defensive weakness and issue).


I think the match up down each edge becomes a key tactical option here.

To’o | Staggs | Cleary | Murray
Coates | Holmes | Munster | Capewell

Sims | Luai | Wighton | Tupou
Kaufusi | DCE | Gagai | Cobbo

– Neither Staggs or Wighton are known for wanting to pass the ball
– NSW with starting Wighton leaves Luai without what could have been Panthers combinations like Cricton and To’o
– QLD have two strong defenders on each edge in Holmes and Gagai, but may have some defensive issues if exposed with each rookie winger
– Staggs looks a key defensive target for QLD and with Munster and Ponga liking to play to their left I expect Staggs will see a lot of work and they try to isolate runners at him
– Despite the NSW speculation of  selecting wingers for height, the NSW right edge match up looks very much to QLD advantage with the significant height advantage that Coates will have and his skill in the air with a high ball, I’m sure this will be a key attack tactic 

Game Preview

NSW with their 3 key outs lose very significant strike, line break and points, I’d suggest just Latrell and Turbo mean 10 to 12 points difference in handicap position and with Papenhuyzen not there as a replacement in one for or another it changes the dynamics of the NSW teams approach to attack. They then have two centres who rarely pass the ball so so much of the attack focus is now going to be on the spine, in particular the #7, 6 and 1. Cook also has no back up and at the intense level of speed and fatigue Origin has then one wonders what impact that has for both his line break and sharpness out of dummy half in the final minutes into half time or the last 15 minutes of the match.

Cleary’s kicking game, both long and shot becomes critical, as then does the return yardage play from the NSW back 3 in particular the two wingers, each of who are very strong at this.

I expect that NSW will focus down the middle 30% to 40% of the field and concentrate the majority of their game here, look to go through the front door with big bodies and work over QLD’s middle, and then a Cook dart or Cleary or Luai quick footed play or support run open things up, and or Tedesco running his quality support play hunting down the middle or middle edges. They’ll look for an offload or short line break to break things open on either that play of the next, and if on the next then they’ll have some option to go a little wider.

QLD will look to do something similar on early plays but I also think they’ll be prepared to play some quicker and wider width and bring their two outside edge pairings into play, 3/4 short side raids that gets them attacking down the outside two, and 3/4 width wide plays that gets to the outside with a bit of space for the outside two. I expect QLD will be prepared to be a bit more adventurous in attack, and having a dual approach to their #9 play is smart and likely gives them some freshness and additional strike options. I do expect that QLD will really target most of their attack to their left and want to run a lot of attack at Staggs, with Munster, Ponga and Holmes the key focus. This should also bring Coates into play often as either and outside edge support runner or the high bomb to the corner kicks, he would certainly be my anchor for anytime try.

I think this game and likely series looks like we have come full circle from only a few years ago and we have a close match up with very little now between them. The NSW outs, the QLD team selection of in form players with a focus on hard workers across their line up presents us with what looks a very even match up. I have a small lean to QLD as I like the overall team and balance, think they have some quality defence across their front 10 and the options of two players who bring different skills and strike to #9 (Harry Grant and ben Hunt). With what looks a close match up I want to be with the plus start but game 1 most years is a difficult starting point from which we will learn much more about each team, each coach and where the series might then be headed. 

With this series having games in Sydney, Perth and then Brisbane and on paper looking very close through out I also like the option of QLD to win the series at $2.30 as in all likelihood the final game could well be a series decider.

Total game points? Game 1 historically when played at either of the two traditional grounds (Homebush or Land Park) is normally a low scoring tight contest, with the last 9 games delivering low total scores all under 36 points. Certainly my leaning is with history and a game under 36.5

I am keen that Coates is the best individual anytime try scorer option and that he see’s plenty of play and ball down his edge, next best Holmes and Tedesco. For man of the match options likely Munster and Tedesco look very well suited given how the game looks to be played.


Tip: QLD

Game total points: under 36.5

Anytime Try: Coates

Bets for Pass It On Clothing Charity c/ Topsport

QLD +4.0 $1.90

QLD Series win $2.30

NSW 1-12 $2.94

QLD +4.5 and points under 36.5 $3.30

3 leg multi anytime try Coates + Gagai + Tedesco $19.69

Podcast Preview Links Here



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Having coached at a senior level for 16 years including 3 years on the coaching staff of an NRL club Gerard Condon is a long term avid student of the game. He’s coached sides to win titles at a senior level, run the football arm of a successful district club, managed professional players and worked in various development roles, so it’s fair to say the game of Rugby League is certainly in his blood and supports an experienced and unique offering.

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