We’ve run the rule over the record books and stats to see if numbers and history point to a victory by Queensland or NSW…and they don’t stack up well for defending champion Blues.
In 17 previous deciders, Queensland has won 11, NSW has won four and two were drawn.
In 10 Brisbane deciders, the Maroons are ahead in the count 7-2-1.
Not including the drawn series in 1999 and 2002, just seven of 15 deciders have been won by the team that prevailed in game two.
The Blues has come back from a game one loss to win the series just twice: 1994 and 2005. Queensland has achieved that feat on five occasions.
NSW has not won a game-three decider since 2005, which was also at Suncorp Stadium. Queensland has won the last five – of which only two (2011-12) were in Brisbane.
Suncorp Stadium Blues
The Blues’ record in 50 Origins at Lang Park/Suncorp Stadium in 18-31-1, but they have won just one of their last seven at the hallowed venue – the 2014 series opener.
There are 10 survivors from last year’s game one victory in Brisbane. Backrowers Ryan Hoffman and Paul Gallen (2007), and centres Michael Jennings and Josh Morris (2009) are also survivors of NSW’s only other two wins at Suncorp Stadium in the last 10 series – both of which were game three dead-rubbers.
None of the Blues’ squad has won a game-three decider in their Origin careers; Mitchell Pearce and Paul Gallen have both lost four, while Brett Morris has featured in three decider defeats.
NSW stars Will Hopoate, Trent Hodkinson, David Klemmer and Josh Jackson will all be featuring in their maiden decider tonight; Will Chambers, Dane Gagai, Aidan Guerra and Michael Morgan are the Queenslanders heading into uncharted territory.
Cameron Smith (7), Johnathan Thurston (6), Nate Myles (5), Sam Thaiday (5), Corey Parker (5), Greg Inglis (4) and Darius Boyd (4) are the Maroons’ most decider-experienced campaigners. Smith (2004-05), Thurston (2005) and Parker (2004-05) are the only players in the side to have tasted defeat in a game-three decider.
Men of the match
Smith (2012) and Thurston (2013) have both won man-of-the-match awards in Origin deciders. The only players in history to win man-of-the-match awards in multiple Origin deciders are Wally Lewis (1982-83), Allan Langer (1987 and 2002) and Brent Tate (2006 and 2013).
Seven deciders have featured a margin of two points or less, while five have featured margins of 21-plus. Just five previous deciders fit into the winning margin bracket of 3-20 points.
Queensland’s 40-14 victory in 2001 is the biggest win in a decider, while their 43-22 success in 1983 is the highest score in a decider. NSW’s 36-14 win in 2004 is its highest score and biggest margin of victory in a decider, with the Blues equalling the latter in a 32-10 win a year later.
If NSW can clinch victory at Suncorp Stadium and retain the Origin shield, it will have replicated the efforts of the Laurie Daley-captained Blues side of 1994, who lost the series opener at home before squaring the ledger at the MCG and winning the decider at Suncorp.