New South Wales are just one victory away from their first State of Origin series triumph in eight years, as they get set to face Queensland in the second game of the three-match series.
Who will win Game 2?
Inspired by a stunning performance from Jarryd Hayne, Blues won the first game of the series by a 12-8 scoreline and will be looking to wrap up the title with a win in front of what promises to be a packed-out ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
If the Maroons can nick a victory in the second clash, the series will go to a third game in Brisbane on July 9. But that scenario remains hypothetical, and the focus of the rugby league world will be squarely on the ANZ come 8 p.m. local time on Wednesday evening.
Here are all the details you need on where to catch the game via an online stream.
Date: June 18, 2014
Start Time: 8:00 p.m. (Local time), 11 a.m (BST), 6 a.m. (ET)
Live Stream: Premier Player (UK)
In the encapsulating best-of-three format, the Queensland outfit have won the last eight series. But in truth, it’s not as if New South Wales have been comprehensively outplayed on every occasion. After all, only one of those eight wins was by a 3-0 aggregate scoreline.
Having won the opener, the Blues have managed to put some real pressure on their rivals and, as you might expect, they’ve named a line-up that deviates little from the side that triumphed in Game 1 back in May. Five-eighth Josh Reynolds will line up for the Blues, but he’ll count himself lucky that he received a downgrade of his initial charge for a savage tackle on Maroons’ Brent Tate:
The Maroons squad that’s looking to turn the series round has been decimated by injuries ahead of this critical match. Key men Daly Cherry-Evans and Greg Inglis are major doubts but will be given time to prove their fitness, per the Australian Associated Press (h/t The Guardian).
The loss of Cherry-Evans would be an especially big blow. The talented but raw Ben Hunt could come into replace him, and in such a vital contest, Maroons skipper Cameron Smith will be hoping to have his main man fit to don the No. 7 jersey.
You suspect that Queensland will need him at his absolute best if they’re to contain Hayne, who was sublime in the first of the two games. The Blues full-back put on a masterclass in handling and running in Game 1, scoring a vital try just before half-time to give New South Wales some much-needed breathing space.
OptaJason gives us an indication of how unstoppable he was in that first clash:
With Maroons crippled by injuries going into this one, Hayne could have another field day against their defensive line. Cherry-Evans would be a major loss in that sense, but you suspect even if he was to feature, he may not be at his intimidating best.
Having failed to win Origin for the past eight years, on the brink of this critical clash the Blues look well placed to end that streak. They can’t afford to play with the apprehension and nervous reflexes that have gripped them for so long in these big games. But with Hayne galvanising this New South Wales team on, expect them to wrap up the series with a flourish in Sydney.