Moore: Pressure on in Origin II
THERE'S always something special about game two of a State of Origin series. You've got one side desperate to stay alive in the series and another side 80 minutes away from Origin glory.
As the dust settled from Origin I, all the talk surrounded what changes both sides would make heading into the series-defining game in Perth.
Queensland have been forced into two changes due to injury while the Blues have made an astonishing seven changes.
Running my eyes over both teams it's easy to come up with a stack of key match-ups across the park, Ponga v Tedesco, Maloney and Cleary v Munster and Cherry-Evans and Cook v Hunt are all mouthwatering battles. But for mine it's the battle of the benches that will decide the winner in Perth on Sunday night.
Queensland's interchange players got the best of the bench battle in game one with David Fifita and Joe Ofahengaue providing the spark and go-forward that the Blues bench lacked.
It's no surprise that Brad Fittler has looked to add some punch to the Blues bench, with Dale Funicane, Wade Graham and Tariq Sims tasked with getting the job done.
Funicane looks tailor-made for Origin, he gets through plenty of minutes in the middle for the Storm and does the tidy-up work that others won't, but can he be a game changer off the bench?
Graham is one of the smartest players in the competition, he's solid in defence, has an offload in him and a smart kicking game but how will he fare if he's called on to play extended minutes after just two games back in the NRL?
Sims returns to the fray after missing game one and showed last year that he's up to the task in Origin but can he be the middle forward the Blues require when Daniel Saifiti comes off?
Cam Murray is one of the form forwards in the NRL and was a standout for the Blues in game one with 86 metres and 25 tackles but can he handle the hooking duties should something happen to Cook?
Moses Mbye had limited opportunity in the game one with just eight minutes off the bench. He can cover plenty of position but how does Kevin Walters get him into the game?
Jarrod Wallace has been in outstanding form for the Titans this season, averaging 153m a game and 22 tackles, but he's yet to taste success at Origin level, Can this be his chance to sing the team song?
Tim Glasby is a Trojan warrior. He'll punch out 100m and can get an offload away but does he have the spark to change the game for the Maroons?
David Fifita was a tower of strength for Queensland in game one and was behind the momentum swing that led to the Maroons win, but can he recapture that form after two poor weeks for the Broncos?
While the Blues bench looks stronger in game two, I still have a question mark over Fittler's decision not to include a specialist prop and how the Blues accommodate an injury to an outside back.
Queensland's bench looks very well balanced.
I like the additions of Glasby and Wallace but would like to see Walters get Mbye into the game earlier than he did in game one.
The Maroons bench has a slight edge on the Blues bench with Glasby, Wallace, Fifita and Mbye to lead Queensland to a 24-20 victory.