The State of Origin series is underway, with the Queensland Maroons taking out the opening game in stunning fashion in Sydney over the New South Wales Blues.
The 16 points to 10 win saw the Maroons hold on against a Blues team hellbent on a comeback, and was ultimately enough to get the job done.
The Blues will now need to win in Perth to force a decider in Game 3 – to be played at the cauldron that is Suncorp Stadium – while the Maroons could take the series and set up a dead rubber back at home in Queensland.
Despite the win for the Maroons, they didn’t score first in Game 1, with Jack Wighton finding space on the edge to put the Blues ahead on the scoreboard, although it would be their only try until the 71st minute when South Sydney second rower Cameron Murray burst over.
Here are the favourites to score first in Game 2 and with a betting bonus with bet365, you could find excellent value by picking one of the following players.
Daniel Tupou (New South Wales)
Tupou has been in fine form for the Sydney Roosters and has an enormous height advantage – even more so now that Xavier Coates is likely to be out with a gruesome injury.
Tupou is an undoubted favourite to score at some point in Game 2 after failing to find a four-pointer in Game 1, but don’t be surprised if he is the first man over the line.
Selwyn Cobbo (Queensland)
Cobbo has been on a try-scoring rampage in recent times for the Brisbane Broncos, and while he didn’t score in his Origin debut, he certainly didn’t look overawed for even a second.
The 19-year-old will be there again in Game 2 for Billy Slater’s side, and it could be anticipated that he will find his way to the tryline this time, given he has 10 tries in 12 games this year, but with all of those 10 coming in his last 6 club games.
Jack Wighton (New South Wales)
Wighton was a surprise selection in the centres for Game 1, with NSW Coach Brad Fittler electing to relegate Stephen Crichton to the bench.
The selection paid off though, with Wighton among the Blues’ best, and crossing for the first try on the back of a hard run that left the Maroons’ defence backpedalling.
Only time will tell if he can repeat the dose.
Dane Gagai (Queensland)
Gagai is Origin. It’s almost as simple as that.
He has often struggled for club form over the years – although that doesn’t seem to be as much the case this year – only to turn up for the Maroons and put on a masterclass at either centre or wing.
The Newcastle centre crossed for a try in Game 1, and given some of the issues in New South Wales’ defence, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him crossing early for the Maroons in Perth, particularly given the oval field where defending on the edge can be particularly difficult.
Brian To’o (New South Wales)
The NSW winger is known more for his ball-running skills than racking up the tries, but that doesn’t mean he can’t finish with the best of them.
As noted on Gagai, defending on an oval ground can be quite tough on the edge, and his ball-running and strength to finish down the sideline will only add a layer of problems for the Maroons.
Cameron Munster (Queensland)
Munster scores a surprising number of tries for a half. The star five-eighth, who has been in career-best form, is running the ball a lot more as well this season, and it’s showing on the stats sheet.
He didn’t cross in Game 1, but made almost 200 metres with the ball in hand. It’s little surprise that he has scored 6 tries in 11 games playing for the Storm at club level, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him go over early for the Maroons.