Game III

Blues v Maroons: Best, Keaon to debut; AJ in for Walsh

Having lost seven of the past 11 Origin games and three of the past four series, the Blues have pinned their faith in a new-look side that includes two debutants in Bradman Best and Keaon Koloamatangi and four players recalled to the fold in Cody Walker, Clint Gutherson, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Jacob Saifiti.

The last time the Blues were on the end of a clean sweep was 2010, the fifth year of the Maroons' incredible eight-year dynasty, and it will take a mighty turnaround from a 32-6 loss in Brisbane to deny Queensland the fifth ever sweep.

New South Wales drops Jarome Luai ahead of dead rubber clash with Queensland

Key points:

  • Penrith's Jarome Luai has been dropped from the New South Wales team for State of Origin III
  • Cody Walker will return, with Keaon Koloamatangi and Bradman Best set to debut as the Blues look to avoid a whitewash
  • Queensland have made just two changes, due to suspension and injury, with Corey Horsburgh to earn his first Maroon jersey

Luai, Hudson Young, Tyson Frizell and Junior Paulo have paid the price for the Blues' hefty loss in Origin II and will not feature in the series finale on July 12 in Sydney.

'As good as I have seen': Queensland spirit to the fore

"That is as good a Queensland victory as I have ever seen," Slater said. "I don’t think I’ve been any prouder of a team I’ve been involved in.”

Slater played 31 Origins from 2004 to 2018 and was a key member of the most dominant team in the 42 years since the concept began, so he knows only too well the story of Queensland's famous spirt inspiring the underdog Maroons to victory against all odds.

However, there has never been a plot quite like the one at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.

Maroons v Blues: Dearden, Oates set to start; Saifiti named at prop

Following Queensland's narrow win in the series opener in Sydney it was the Blues hitting back in Perth to set up a mouth-watering contest at the spiritual home of Origin.

Both sides have been forced into changes with Blues prop Payne Haas nursing a shoulder injury and Maroons stalwart Felise Kaufusi on family leave in the USA.

North Queensland forward Tom Gilbert will join Billy Slater's bench, with young gun Jeremiah Nanai set for his first start at the Origin level.

Burton, Crichton retained in centres for Origin decider

An Australian international from the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, McLean was part of the wider' Blues squad for Game Two and will come into the run-on side alongside Jake Trbojevic at prop for his debut in Game Three.

After a resounding 44-12 win in Perth to level the series, the Blues are otherwise unchanged for the decider in Brisbane. 

Gilbert to debut as Maroons name team for Origin decider

Kaufusi, who scored the first try of Game Two and has made 14 appearances for the Maroons since his Origin debut in 2018, is unavailable due to family reasons.

Instead, Slater will turn to Cowboys young gun Jeremiah Nanai in the back row, with Gilbert set to join Harry Grant, Jai Arrow and Patrick Carrigan on the bench.