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State of Origin | Free Preview | Game 2 | 2022


Preview | State of Origin | Game 2 | 2022

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


Ground: Perth

-2.5 market line

38.5 total points (market position)


Game 2 at a neutral ground at Perth. The last Origin game here saw a NSW win and total points of 42 This is normally a dry fast surface, big open spacious ground. The weather forecast is for dry sunny days in the lead up and a late arvo game Perth time.


As suggested we saw a typical Game 1 result with a tight low scoring game, 16-10 result and so just the 26 points and under the points mark of 36. However we did also see a number of near miss final scoring plays, also typical of game 1 at at Homebush (evening winter damp surface) where combinations are still forming, I expect that we will now see a very quick game and on a dry surface with the benefit of a hit out in game 1 and further training sessions we should see far more attack and points. 

Team Selections

So did Fittler get it all wrong for game 1 and or does he now get it right for game 2? Or is it both by Monday?

NSW have one forced change with the loss of Wighton. In addition we then see a further 5 changes and so Burton, S Crichton both come into the centers, Jake Trbojevic starts in the front row, Koroisau at #9, Cook moves to the bench and he has now a completely new bench makeup of Cook, A Crichton, Paulo and Talakai.

Trbojevic is there for his quick work rate in defence but will play a yardage role as #10 and not his customary role at the Eagles at #13 where he plays a ball playing link role which yeo will do here. This also means NSW will rely on just 3 in the middle big body yardage and defensive work roles in Haas, Paulo and Trbojevic. There is no doubt that Koroisau is quality and brings his combinations with the #13, 7 and 6 as a big plus, but in relegating Cook to the bench and an impact role does this then mean Cook only plays 15 to 20 minutes and does this then create more fatigue for Haas, Paulo and Trbojevic? Game 1 produced 35 more play the balls than a normal NRL match, the speed and intensity is at a new level, I just wonder if the bench make up, use and strategy does not become a telling point in this game. And then what with Talakai? Probably sits on the bench for a long time and maybe plays left edge backrow and this moves Murray into the middle at some stage?

QLD lose both Cotter and Coates due to injury and bring in obvious and in form replacements in Arrow and Taulagi.

Arrow’s club form over the last 4 or so games has been outstanding and he has a very high work rate and quality defence so no loss with his inclusion. Arrow starting also then allows for QLD to hold back Carrigan for his impact role off the bench after 20 or so opening minutes, and what a find he is, kid is a star. Taulagi is a star, and also a quality defender and I’d suggest much better than Coates. Clearly the dual prong approach at #9 worked so well for QLD in game 1 that Fittler has now gone down the same path, Harry Grant is a 5 star luxury once he comes into the game and as shown in game 1 this then allows the return of Hunt into the final 15 minutes (and we saw the benefit of this with his left edge dart in opening their attack up late in the game). Nanai unless required due to injury will slot in as required, most likely in a back row role.

I made the point prior to game 1 that QLD had gone with “workers”, picking in form players with high work rates and then gelling them together as a team. It’s something that QLD have done so well for the last 25 years of Origin, picking the Garry Larson’s and Billy Moore’s and alike (and there are so many more examples) to turn up and just bloody work hard to get a job done, and in these high intensity Origin games that can take you so so far toward the final result.

NSW have some disadvantage to date in this series, no Mitchell, Turbo, Papenhuyzen and now Wighton, that takes a hell of a lot of strike out of your line up.

Market Position

For the life of me I can’t work out how the market has come to the opening positions or where it has now ended up. It’s been driven by a volume of belief that NSW will respond, the size of the NSW influence – as imo it sure ain’t being driven by fact. If NSW were -4.5 favs and then get beat by 6, go to a neutral ground and have multiple changes pray tell me how that then ends up as -2.5 favs?

So lets work through the rated numbers as I see them.

NSW in Game 1
Undeniable home adv (at lease a 4 point advantage, I marked it 4.5)
Market put them out and they closed at game time as a -4.5 fav

If we back out the home track advantage we are suggesting that both teams looked closely matched – which is pretty much as it turned out.

NSW get beat 16-10 (could have been more, could have been less)

Now (for game 2) lose their best player on the night in Wighton
Then make multiple (6 in total)

If we then take out the home advantage (lets call them equal) and we go to a ground with no advantage to either (so we are still equal), take out Wighton (best player) and factor in something negative for the additional changes (you don’t go from game 1 to game 2 with all of those changes and try and argue that we are now a better line up, if so why wasn’t this the case a few weeks ago).

Let’s add in a slight positive for QLD winning game 1 at a tough away ground, and leave their two outs and ins as an even match up.

On form and working through this rating analysis I at least have QLD as a -1.5 fav for game 2, I could even be 2.5 between them.

Yet the market arrive the complete opposite with NSW -2.5

There is no doubt (as we saw in game 1) that there is not a lot between them, and the loser of game 1 has a very high strike rate of responding into game 2 and winning. Clearly NSW can win, but for mine the market is wrong and has completely undervalued QLD’s first win. But hey, this is Origin, QLD have been being undervalued in this contest for the last 25 years.

And for those not aware, I am NSW born and bred and then moved to QLD 15 yrs ago, but I try to look at footy and any betting objectively not with my heart!

Try Time

It’s worth noting where the actual plays and then scoring of points happened in game 1.

QLD like to favour their left side (Munster, Ponga, Holmes) but are also good with short side raids. Their first try was a short side Right edge Ponga run then edge pass Cobbo, kick back inside for Gagai to score. Try two off scrum wrap run by Cherry-Evans, poor reads by Sims and Tedesco questionable issue with Paulo being held back. The left edge width raid, again Ponga sums it up perfectly with wide edge pass and Holmes scores. So three tries, right edge, middle and left edge. I thought they as expected favoured and found most joy to the left.

NSW, lovely 15 mtr direct pass from the left post by Cook set up wide passes for Wighton to score left edge. Murray also then nice line break on left edge, lovely left foot step and scores. So both tries on the left, although Tedesco on his favoured right side was through the line and called back at least once and did look troubling down this side/edge.


As with game 1 I think the match up down each edge becomes a key tactical option here.

To’o | Crichton | Cleary | Martin
Taulagi | Holmes | Munster | Capewell

Murray | Luai | Burton | Tupou
Kaufusi | DCE | Gagai | Cobbo

I expect that the Left edge will be the overall favoured focus for both teams, while NSW will have the advantage of Tedesco to their right and or stalking back through the middle as he does so well. Ponga will do something similar, but like his coach he does like short side raids on the right edge.


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Game Preview

I’m sure NSW improve, I’m sure QLD are probably as good as they were in game 1 if not better and so we should again see a very fast cracking game, and I expect that this one opens up into points.

Much has been made of the ruck and the ref. Where the game has changes is we see far more dancing with an upright player in a tackle by at least two defenders now before they hit the ground as a deliberate delaying tactic for some additional seconds before the player then starts to get up to play the ball, so it is much harder now for the ref to speed this up unless the players then spend too much time on top and delaying the ball carrier on the ground. QLD did this well in game 1 (holding up and dancing) and it gave them some slight advantage. I’m not sure that much more changes here other than NSW trying to do the same and using this to try and slow down QLD’s momentum.

I though one of NSW’s biggest issues in game 1 was continually going sideways without having bent the line and gained any real advantage or yardage (and nothing to do with ruck delay or speed). They kept looking to go sideways to try and find an opportunity but it was far easier to defend. Cleary also had an ordinary night, but also lacked some room from a fast moving defence, I’m sure he’ll do better here, Koroisau and Yeo should also help him. Once again his kicking game becomes a critical cog in their game plan and execution. Cook off the bench when fresh could be a master stroke, a touch of room on the back of some yardage and a quick play the ball his sprint could be the game changers that open up holes to then play off. 

QLD were good through the middle in game 1 and I expect they do the same, they have 4 guys who are strong at the advantage line in taking the ball forward and couple of who (notably Papalii) who create good off load ball and second phase play. Their goal is again simple, forward, room and then set up for Munster and Ponga to play 9and predominately to their left edge). The dual approach at #9 is a key strength and key to what they do in attack, it worked so well in game 1 and offers them so much unique strike.

I have QLD small favs and I really like the way they are going about their work and the prep and smarts their coach has brought to this assignment. But there is not a great deal between them, I’m sure NSW are somewhat stung off a home loss first up and then their changes. Is it enough? I’m not sure, teams that work as hard as QLD do are hard to put away and beat.

Prior to game 1 I was with QLD longer term for the series win ($2.40) and so see no need to double down here and back them again to win this game, but I certainly remain with QLD to win as my tip.

As stated earlier I do think the game has points in it. I think the ground, forecast, being game 2 and a higher focus on wanting to play attack and points will open this game up and so I think the best play is with the points over.

The key players for individual plays. Anytime try I like Burton (best), Toó and Tedesco for NSW, while for QLD Taulagi (best) Munster and Holmes. For man of the match options again like game 1 likely Munster and Tedesco look very well suited.


Tip: QLD

Game points: over 38.5

Anytime Try: Burton

Bets for Pass It On Clothing Charity c/ Topsport

Game points: over 38.5 $1.90

3 leg multi points over 38.5 + Burton anytime try + Tedesco anytime try$11.65

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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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