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NSW handicap value.

Byline: Rod Studd

STATE OF ORIGIN 3 Setanta Ireland, 10.30am

THIS is a golden era for Queensland rugby league. Mal Meninga's Maroons are in the middle of a purple patch. A fourth straight series success over the bitter enemy from New South Wales is already in the bag after victories in Melbourne and Sydney.

Now they go in search of their first 3-0 whitewash since 1995 in front of their adoring fans at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.

Bookmakers make them 1-2 to complete the clean sweep and it may come as a surprise to learn that all the smart money placed Down Under this week has been on New South Wales.

And it may pay to follow the cash and back the underdogs. The Blues have been second best so far but not by very much. In both previous games, NSW were within a converted try in the dying minutes only to concede a score which distorted the final winning margin.

They find themselves in the same situation as they did in 2007. Needing to win in Queensland's backyard to avoid a whitewash, two years ago they triumphed 18-4 with Brett Kimmorley pulling the strings at scrum half. The veteran has been recalled for this game and will partner ex-Wigan star Trent Barrett.

The Maroons' talisman Darren Lockyer has hinted he will retire from representative rugby league after this match and his teammates will surely want to give the Brisbane legend a fitting send-off.

But even if they lose again, New South Wales should be able to make it another tough day for the favourites.

Recommendation New South Wales +6 2pts 10-11 general Already advised (June 3) Queensland to win series 3-0 2pts 9-4 Blue Square

TEAM DETAILS Queensland: 1 Billy Slater, 2 Darius Boyd, 3 Greg Inglis, 4 Justin Hodges, 5 Willie Tonga, 6 Darren Lockyer (c), 7 Johnathan Thurston, 8 Steven Price, 9 Cameron Smith, 10 Matt Scott, 11 Ashley Harrison, 12 Sam Thaiday, 13 Dallas Johnson.

Interchange: 14 Karmichael Hunt, 15 Neville Costigan, 16 David Shillington, 17 Michael Crocker.

Coach: Mal Meninga New South Wales: 1 Kurt Gidley (c), 2 Jarryd Hayne, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Josh Morris, 5 David Williams, 6 Trent Barrett, 7 Brett Kimmorley, 8 Josh Perry, 9 Michael Ennis, 10 Justin Poore, 11 Ben Creagh, 12 Trent Waterhouse, 13 Anthony Watmough. Interchange 14 Craig Wing ,15 Tom Learoyd Lahrs, 16 Glenn Stewart, 17 Brett White. Coach: Craig Bellamy Referee: Tony Archer

RECENT STATE OF ORIGINS 2009 Game two ......NSW 14 Queensland 24 Game one........Queensland 28 NSW 18 2008 Game one........NSW 18 Queensland 10 Game two ........Queensland 30 NSW 0 Game three ....NSW 10 Queensland 16 2007 Game one........Queensland 25 NSW 18 Game two ........NSW 6 Queensland 10 Game three ......Queensland 4 NSW 18 2006 Game one........NSW 17 Queensland 16 Game two ........Queensland 30 NSW 6 Game three ....NSW 14 Queensland 16 2005 Game one........Queensland 24 NSW 20 Game two ......NSW 33 Queensland 22 Game three ....Queensland 10 NSW 32 2004 Game one............NSW 9 Queensland 8 Game two ......Queensland 18 NSW 22 Game three ....NSW 36 Queensland 14
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jul 15, 2009
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