With the series all wrapped up and New South Wales summoning a new era of Origin footy, Game III has the intriguing possibility of being one of the most open and high-scoring matches in recent history.
Origin traditionally is a very low scoring game, despite the incredible speed of play, and the likelihood is this one is no different. But from a glass-half-full fantasy perspective, I feel like the combination of a gluttony of youth, a dead rubber and a debut for some of these young guns at the cauldron that is Suncorp Stadium could bring a lot of points. That’s what I’ll be hoping for anyway. It would mean a lot to the Blues to complete the clean sweep and would give them the platform to usher in a new age of dominance, but Queensland have not been swept in a series since 2000.
Let’s look at the fantasy plays.
Gun: James Tedesco ($15.6m)
Regardless of whether this game is high scoring or not, James Tedesco will produce points. After a very slow start to the NRL season by his very lofty standards, Tedesco has blown up in recent weeks, using a man of the match performance in Origin I to springboard his club and rep seasons, and there’s no end in sight. His 1637 average in Origin is the highest of any player, built on the back of the huge amount of work he churns through in a game that is built on field position. Should I be correct in guessing this match may see more points than normal, you can expect Tedesco to push 2000. There should be 100% ownership of Teddy.
Dud: David Klemmer ($16.6m)
Big David Klemmer has had probably the least amount of influence he has had in his Origin career so far, and his team has not suffered at all. The versatility of the team Brad Fittler picked to bring in his new era of Blues football has rendered the traditional forwards, Klemmer and Paul Vaughan, largely irrelevant. Both of those hulking front rowers are as good as they come, and both are strong fantasy players, particularly Vaughan, but having the likes of Jake Trbojevic, Angus Crichton and Tyson Frizell, all of whom are able to play through the middle or on the edges, it’s meant the props have seen fewer minutes and had less impact. Klemmer is averaging just 863, and I can’t see him improving that.
Point of Difference: Damien Cook ($15.8m)
It’s hard to generate a POD in a game like Origin where there are so few players and they are all superstars, so I’m going to address this in a slightly different way. Damien Cook has had one of the most outstanding seasons a hooker has had in recent memory, and is leading the NRL in PlayON points scored. Outside of a wonderful run in Origin I, he hasn’t really been able to take over a game with his incredible acceleration and running ability, but if Game III is more open and expansive, the Rabbitohs no.9 could put up an astonishing score.