Date: 23/6/14

Queensland’s already stretched squad has been dealt another double blow following the news that experienced duo Brent Tate and Matt Scott will both be missing from the final game of this season’s State of Origin series. After suffering back-to-back defeats against New South Wales, the Maroons will now have to try and avoid a series whitewash without two key players. The final game of the three-game series will be played on July 9 at Suncorp Stadium, with the Blues already guaranteed the series win.

The North Queensland duo were both forced from the field during NSW’s 6-4 victory, with Scott suffering a suspected cheekbone fracture while Tate appears to have sustained his fourth serious knee injury in seven years. The duo now join half-back Cooper Cronk, Corey Parker and Josh Papalii on the sidelines for the final game of the series, although Greg Inglis, Billy Slater and Daly Cherry-Evans were all injury doubts until the last minute before the second game of the series.

None of those injuries are as serious as Tate, however, with the 32-year old rumoured to have told reporters he has torn his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, which would be a fourth major operation on his knee in seven seasons. The veteran has played 23 Origins and 26 Tests, but this latest injury may mean Tate is forced to end his career, just weeks after agreeing a new 12 month deal with North Queensland.

Fellow Cowboy Scott could also be set to miss the rest of the season if his suspected fractured cheekbone is a bad as first feared. The prop will definitely miss Origin III but his club side will be desperate to have him back in action as soon as possible as they battle for a top eight spot and a place in the NRL finals for the fourth year in a row – something you can back on happening with the bet365 latest odds.

Queensland already faced a tough battle to get anything out of the final game of the series against a NSW side with plenty of momentum, but the loss of two such important players has only further boosted Blues confidence. Their only real concern lies with Anthony Watmough’s upcoming judiciary following an alleged dangerous throw.

Watmough was charged with a grade two offence following a lifting tackle on Queensland forward Nate Myles in the opening seconds of the second half at the ANZ Stadium. While Watmough would have been suspended for three games had he entered an early guilty plea, the Blues back rower has decided to contest the grading of the charge in a bid to play in the series finale. Should he fail to have the charge downgraded, Watmough will be unavailable for four games, including Origin III.

With the majority of Blues players sporting a clean bill of health, NSW will head to the Suncorp Stadium full of belief that they can complete a surprising clean sweep in this year’s Origin series.