Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
New South Wales has won three out of the last four State of Origin series so it’s no surprise that they are once again favourites to take home the shield in 2022.
On paper they still boast a side with more star players than their counterparts Queensland and have a successful track record to maintain the faith of their supporters.
However, the Maroons have been known to ambush the Blues throughout the years and win take home the shield when nobody thought that they would be a chance.
The most recent example of this came in 2020 when that year’s Maroons side was labelled the worst Queensland team ever heading into the series before emerging victorious with two wins over New South Wales.
Whilst this year’s Maroons squad is certainly not being named the worst ever, people still seem to be underestimating them and there are indicators that a classic Queensland ambush could occur.
One area of concern for Brad Fittler’s New South Wales side is the form of incumbents.
— Queensland Maroons (@QLDmaroons) June 2, 2022
In the past this was seen as a constant issue by fans as out of form players were continually selected to play for New South Wales due to their Origin experience and often let the state down.
When Brad Fittler took over as head coach of the Blues he gave many talented youngsters their first crack at wearing a New South Wales jersey and has since been repaid with three series wins.
However, a number of the players he has stuck by over the past four series have experienced a drop in form but have still been selected to play next Wednesday.
Fullback and captain James Tedesco has begun to find his feet again in 2022 but still isn’t playing to the same standard as he has in recent years, centre Jack Wighton has fallen significantly since his Dally M Medal-winning season in 2020 and hooker Damien Cook is arguably experiencing his worst ever form slump.
Queensland on the other hand has selected a side brimming with young and in form talent with the likes of Selwyn Cobbo, Patrick Carrigan, Reuben Cotter and Jeremiah Nanai being selected to play.