Another year of what could've been for New South Wales but there is still plenty to play for in Game III. The Blues haven't been too far off the mark this series and the final Origin appearance for inspirational skipper Paul Gallen should provide added motivation.
A number of other familiar faces in the Blues side could be playing for their Origin futures and the inclusion of several new players has freshened up the side with most of the excitement surrounding the highly-anticipated Origin debut of Wests Tigers superstar James Tedesco.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, it's business as usual for Queensland but they too have no shortage of motivation. Loyal servant Corey Parker will line up for his Origin swansong and has a chance to depart with the Maroons' first whitewash victory since 2010.
Nothing is more certain at Origin time than the Maroons machine clicking into gear. They are clinical, dominant and have won on three of their past four visits to ANZ Stadium and will take some stopping as they look to improve that record.
The Blues have gone with a fresh new look with the likes of Tedesco, Jack Bird, Wade Graham and Tyson Frizell providing a window to the future and possibly a long-overdue change of fortune.
The loss of half-back Adam Reynolds is far from ideal for New South Wales but may not be the major setback it seems. It will allow James Maloney to shift to 'first receiver' and means the impressive Jack Bird will have more game time at five-eighth.
The inclusion of full-back Tedesco is most exciting for Blues fans with his sheer pace certain to ask questions of the Queensland defence. Graham and Frizell figure in a new-look back row and there is reason to be optimistic that good times may be on the horizon for New South Wales.
Queensland again look settled and the return of Nate Myles after knee surgery has no doubt lifted spirits and confidence in the Maroons camp. There has been a minor injury concern over Origin II hat-trick hero Dane Gagai who is nursing a quad strain, but he will take his place.
The selection of 30-year-old Origin debutant Gavin Cooper raised some eyebrows south of the border but was has certainly celebrated north of it. A Maroons victory on his Origin debut will cap a memorable week for the popular North Queensland Cowboys forward after he and his wife welcomed their second child into the world last Wednesday.
New South Wales Blues: 1. James Tedesco, 2. Blake Ferguson, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Josh Dugan, 5. Josh Mansour, 14. Jack Bird, 6. James Maloney, 8. Aaron Woods, 9. Robbie Farah, 10. Paul Gallen (c), 11. Wade Graham, 12. Josh Jackson, 13. Tyson Frizell. Interchange: 18. Matt Moylan, 15. James Tamou, 16. David Klemmer, 17. Andrew Fifita.
Queensland Maroons: 1. Darius Boyd, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Greg Inglis, 4. Justin O'Neill, 5. Dane Gagai, 6. Johnathan Thurston, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Matt Scott, 9. Cameron Smith (c), 10. Nate Myles, 11. Matt Gillett, 12. Sam Thaiday, 13. Corey Parker. Interchange: 14. Gavin Cooper, 15. Josh McGuire, 16. Aidan Guerra, 17. Jacob Lillyman.
Key head-to-head - Paul Gallen v Corey Parker
While Queensland lead the series two-nil there has been a struck match between the two sides. Both teams will be looking for any source of inspiration and they could find it in two of the toughest combatants to pull on their respective jerseys.
Blues captain Paul Gallen and Maroons workhorse Corey Parker will wave goodbye to Origin football after game three and both New South Wales and Queensland will be fired up to send their loyal servants out on a winning note -- the team that rises to this occasion the best will more than likely secure victory.
Queensland's last Origin series whitewash victory was in 2010.
Queensland have not lost game three in an Origin series since 2009.
A win in Game III would make Kevin Walters the first Origin coach since Paul Vautin in 1995 to start his tenure with a whitewash.
$1.85 NSW, $2.00 QLD
The 'dead rubber theory' is the only thing we can put down to the support for NSW in Game III of Origin. While there isn't much separating the two sides price-wise, the bulk of the bigger bets have been for NSW; perhaps the thinking being that the Queenslanders don't care as they have already won the series....but we know better than that!
Dane Gagai spent a lot of time on the highlights reel following game two after scoring a treble of tries, and he has again been well backed ($11-$10) to be the first try-scorer. Corey Oates is the $8.00 favourite while best backed of the Blues players has been James Tedesco at $13.
Tedesco also features prominently in the Player of the Match market. He is one of three players at $8.00, sharing that status with Paul Gallen and Johnathan Thurston. Corey Parker ($11) is attracting a lot of sentimental money at $11 in his last Origin match.
Sydney is expecting a chilly temperature of 11 degrees by kick-off with only a 10 percent chance of rain.
New South Wales can consider themselves a touch unlucky to be two down in the series, but the fact is they are, and now must find a response at ANZ Stadium to salvage some pride.
Losing Reynolds to injury in the lead-up isn't ideal but the upside is that it will likely mean more game time for Jack Bird. The inclusion of Origin debutants Tedesco and Graham represents a view to a more promising future for the Blues and adds some excitement to another failed series for New South Wales fans.
Queensland also have something to be excited about with the hardworking Gavin Cooper making his first appearance. Regardless of the result in Game III, he will enjoy a career highlight lifting the Origin shield for the Maroons.
The impending retirements of Gallen and Parker will be emotional for both sides, but once the dust settles I can see a New South Wales victory. The Blues have enjoyed good periods in the first two matches but I'm backing them to capitalise on their opportunities this time and post a morale-boosting and face-saving victory.
Tip: New South Wales by 8