PREVIEW: Origin Game II, 2015
NSW v Maroons
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Rabbitohs skipper Greg Inglis will take the field for his 26th foray into the Origin arena this Wednesday night at the MCG when his Maroons look to secure the 2015 State of Origin Series, while a second Rabbitoh in the form of centre Dylan Walker, was called up to the Blues squad for Game II as a shadow player. Should injury strike New Souths Wales’ outside backs before kick-off, Walker could be a late inclusion.
While conscious that he may not play in the match, Walker is excited to be a part of the experience and is set to learn from the high calibre of players around him.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Walker of his call-up.
“When you’re a young boy, you just always wanted to play Origin and be the best footballer you can be. I’m still learning and I’m still going along the way – it’s just awesome to be part of this camp and be (alongside) the likes of the Gallen’s and the Farah’s.
“This will be my first camp so it’ll be something special and it’ll be something I’ll never forget.”
Story: Souths’ Other QLD Rep
Story: Walker Added to Blues Squad
Story: King’s Origin Feeling
With the Series being led by Queensland after a win in Game I, the pressure is all on the Blues as they look to deny the Maroons a trophy that they only recently got their hands back on in 2014. But while Queensland took the points in Game I, the story could easily have been very different.
With the scores reading 10-10 in Brisbane late in the game, the Blues squandered multiple opportunities to take the lead with a field goal. Queensland made no such mistakes though – the men in Maroon snapping an opportunity through Cooper Cronk when the first opportunity arose to take the match by a single point.
Both coaches, Mal Meninga and Laurie Daley have stayed true to the teams that fought out the opening clash, with the most notable change coming in the form of Manly’s Daly Cherry Evans coming into halfback for the Maroons after Game I match-winner Cronk was ruled out with a meniscus tear in his right knee.
Greg Inglis: Inglis lines up for his 26th appearance for Queensland this Wednesday, and if coach Mal Meninga’s blessing to the Rabbitohs skipper to roam during Game II rings true, it could be Inglis’ most explosive appearance yet. Named to play centre, GI could yet find himself dropping back in defence early in the tackle-count to partner Billy Slater as part of a devastating kick-return team that will no doubt put Queensland on the front foot in their sets.
Dylan Walker: While only injury or a last-minute decision by Laurie Daley would elevate Walker to the Blues line-up, the Souths Junior stands at the ready to make his Origin debut after his late inclusion on Saturday. With Four Test caps to his name for the Kangaroos already, Walker is the logical choice for outside back cover.
Last Time They Met
Greg Inglis’ Queensland side took out the opening game of the 2015 State of Origin Series by a narrow 11-10 margin in front of 80,122 fans at ANZ Stadium.
With five minutes remaining on the clock, the Blues squandered an opportunity to seal the match with a field goal when they attacked deep in Queensland’s half. Queensland made no such mistake just a few moments later to win the game thanks to Cooper Cronk.
Inglis, playing in the centres, had a busy night in his return to the front line of defence, making 16 tackles and running for 90 metres with the ball in hand.
Billy Slater seemed to score the opening try of the Series seven minutes into the contest when he chased a grubber into the in-goal. But the video referee ruled against the four-pointer on the grounds that Slater had played the NSW defender rather than the ball.
But Cooper Cronk made no mistake in the 12th minute when he attacked the short-side at speed before stepping through the New South Wales defence to grab a try out wide. Johnathan Thurston added the extras to snare an early six-point lead for the Maroons.
The Blues would respond in a big way in the 20th minute when Josh Dugan broke through the Queensland line before kicking low and into the corner for Josh Morris to swoop on the ball and score. Trent Hodkinson’s conversion attempt was of target, leaving the score at 6-4.
After a number of sets on the Queensland line, a Blues set-play that saw wave after wave of attacking players hurtle into the defence eventually saw Beau Scott cross close to the posts. Hodkinson made no mistake with his second attempt to give the Blues the lead by 10-6 leading into the break.
A furious start to the opening stanza saw points hard to come by, but it would be Queensland who would do the honours 15 minutes in when Will Chambers dived over out wide to level the scores up at 10 apiece.
Queensland continued to attack the Blues’ line, achieving multiple repeat sets. But despite the weight of possession, New Souths Wales’ defence held strong. With 10 minutes to go, a penalty to the Maroons 45 metres out saw the visitors take the unusual step of taking a shot at goal.
Thurston’s attempt fell just short of the mark and it would be NSW who would have the next chance to all but seal the match when a penalty inside their own half saw the Blues enjoy another set. But despite numerous opportunities to take a shot at field goal, the Blues squandered the opportunity by going for a try before ultimately kicking the ball dead.
Queensland’s subsequent set of six saw them utilise the seven tackle set and Cooper Cronk ended the set with a field goal to take the score to 11-10 in Queensland’s favour.
With three minutes remaining, Dugan took his own shot at field goal from 35 metres out to no avail, ultimately ending Game I with the Maroons ahead.
International Broadcasters for Game II
For those who love their State of Origin and are living overseas, a multitude of international broadcasters have confirmed they will carry the second match in the series live.
Countries and broadcasters include:
Africa: Live on Fox Sports Africa and repeated the same day
Asia: Live on Setanta Sports
Canada: Live on Sportsnet World channel
France: Live on beIN Sports 1
Inflight / Cruiseships: Live on Sport 24 and repeated on the 19th
Middle East: Live on OSN Sports 1 and repeated on OSN Sports 2 and 3
Pacific Islands: Live on Fiji One
Papua New Guinea: Live on EMTV
United Kingdom: Live on Premier Sports
Greece: Live on Action24
Brazil: Live on SKY
United States: Live on Fox
Viewers are advised to check local guides for further information.
The match will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Wednesday 17 June. Local broadcast coverage commences from 7:30pm.