Queensland skipper Cameron Smith has labelled New South Wales as favourites for Wednesday’s State of Origin clash at ANZ Stadium.
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New South Wales are heading into an Origin series as the defending winners for the first time in nine years, and Smith says that the Blues should be considered favourites for Origin I.
“They are playing at home so they are favourites,” Smith is quoted as saying by AAP.
“Game one is important especially with playing one game at a neutral territory this series.
“It is a big game for us playing in Sydney against a NSW team that is going to be very confident.
“It will be a big ask.
“Last year was very disappointing no doubt – it was a pretty shallow feeling.
“But this is a new series, we’ve got a couple of new players just as NSW.”
It’s not the first time Queensland have labelled its hated opposition as favourites before an Origin series, even in spite of the fact that the Maroons carry 160 more games of Origin experience than the Blues.
Both Greg Inglis (tonsillitis) and Justin Hodges (foot) are expected to line-up for the Maroons in what is expected to be a full house of 83,000 at ANZ Stadium.
Hodges was cleared to play despite suffering a cut to his foot while riding a bike inside the team’s Gold Coast camp.
“That was unfortunate after riding around in his thongs,” Smith said.
“But he trained yesterday and there were no issues – he moved quite well.”
Queensland and New South Wales face-off in Origin I at 10.30am (GMT) on Wednesday.