State of Origin 2014: Date, Time and Predictions for Game 3 Fixture

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State of Origin 2014: Date, Time and Predictions for Game 3 Fixture
Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

The gloves are off for this year's State of Origin series curtain call, where even a dead-rubber environment isn't likely to quell the animosity shared between Queensland and New South Wales.

The Maroons were tremendously disappointed to have lost their first series since 2005, but that shame can be intensified all the more should the Blues record their first 3-0 triumph since 2000.

The line-ups have been altered with stars such as Michael Jennings, Brent Tate, Anthony Watmough and others forced out through injury, but a fierce third encounter still has fireworks on the schedule.

"Unpredictability" will be the word of the day for Wednesday's clash as both outfits seek very different goals in game three, making this week's predictions all the more difficult to cast.

Date: Wednesday, July 9

Time: 10:30 a.m. BST/5:30 a.m. ET

Queensland Avoid 3-0 Series Embarrassment

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Laurie Daley entered this Blues side into the history books by bringing an end to Queensland's eight-year reign in the State of Origin series, but there's a firm possibility that's as far as things will go for his outfit this year.

Triple M Sydney's Grill Team allude to just what this fixture means for both sides, rubbishing any suggestion of a "dead rubber" tag, and that's precisely where the Maroons may have an advantage:

Daley's young guns showed themselves to be a magnificently talented crop in the first two fixtures, but a lot of Wednesday's collisions will be decided upon who wants Game 3 more.

And it's the older, more experienced heads of the Suncorp Stadium hosts who will have an easier time in engineering enthusiasm for the game, the threat of a 3-0 decimation lighting the fire underneath them.

Low-Pressure Atmosphere Opens Up Points Gauge

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So far in this series, we've averaged just 15 points per game, far from unheard of when the stakes are so substantial.

However, one can expect to see those shackles come loose in Brisbane on Wednesday, when the pressure will be lessened and a far more open game likely to be its by-product.

According to Michael Carayannis of the Sydney Morning Herald, this could be the first time that Suncorp hasn't sold out since 2003, with home fans left with bitter disappointment at the 2-0 deficit:

But that will only have so much of an impact on the players, who may well sacrifice some security in pursuit of a more flair-filled approach. Expect the points tally to carry over the 25- or perhaps even 30-point region.

Cameron Smith Earns Man of the Match Finish

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The circumstances may not be those he was hoping for, but who else has the ability to revitalise this Queensland Maroon side better than captain and league great Cameron Smith?

The hosts' captain will be hurt by the Telegraph's news that Johnathan Thurston suffered a training injury on Monday, leaving it in some doubt as to whether his territory-clinching influence will be present on Wednesday:

However, star fly-half or not, hooker Smith once again takes on Robbie Farah in a key head-to-head this week, and will undoubtedly be fuelled for the fight, leading in all aspects as he looks to give his men some form of cheer at the last hurdle.

Prediction: Queensland win by 10.

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