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State of Origin decider set for Sydney’s Olympic stadium

July 9, 2019

SYDNEY (AP) — Queensland lost one if its veteran players on the eve of Wednesday’s third State of Origin match against New South Wales but still has form in its favor ahead of the decider.

Maroons backrower Matt Gillett, a 20-game Origin veteran, was ruled out Tuesday after failing to overcome a groin injury.

Barely 10 minutes after saying Gillett would be given until kickoff to overcome the injury, Queensland coach Kevin Walters said Gillett would not play.

“We just tried to run him there in the warm-up and he is not coming up too well,” Walters said.

New South Wales dominated Queensland throughout the match for a 38-6 win in Perth to win the second game to level the series after Queensland won 18-14 at Brisbane in the first game.

In deciding matches in the bitterly-contested series, Queensland has won 13 of the 19 times, with the Blues winning just four along with two draws. The Maroons have won the last seven deciders, starting the run in 2006 and ending in 2017 — New South Wales clinched last year’s series with victories in the first two matches.

And playing in Sydney hasn’t bothered Queensland. Of the seven series deciders played in New South Wales, Queensland has won four, New South Wales two and there has been one draw.

Those superior figures have helped Queensland win all but two series since 2006. The exceptions were 2014 and last year.

One thing seems certain — it should be a low-scoring match. Of the past seven Origin games played at the Olympic stadium, all have been decided by four or fewer points. And the winning team has not scored more than 18 points.

If the Maroons can eke out a victory on Wednesday, they’ll make Dale Cherry-Evans the first player since Cameron Smith in 2008 to win a series in his first year as captain.

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