NSW not being spoilt by choice for once leads to 3-0 whitewash.

The power of positive thinking has led me to this premonition.

No Nathan Cleary, no Tom Trbojevic, Mitchell Moses, Latrell Mitchell (surely), no Clint Gutherson, no Cody Walker now that he’s tweaked his calf … no worries.

When you are not spoilt for choice, the best options become obvious. You pick what is available. It has worked for Queensland for 44 years and in 2024 it will work a treat for Michael Maguire and the NSW Blues.

Brad Fittler for six years had too many options at his disposal.

He was befuddled by complex combinations that no amount of barefoot walking could straighten out.

He had six fullbacks, four centres (two of whom wanted to be the fullbacks) and four halves who all deserved to wear the sky-blue jersey.

He had Greg Alexander telling him just to pick the Panthers.

How did he fit them all in? Badly, is the answer.

Each year the backline and bench was a mash-up of players picked out of position and stuck together with Penrith glue. With so many options, everyone in NSW had an opinion and we all know what they say about opinions – yep, NSW is full of them.

Sadly, many of them even work in the media. The annual result being a team that is criticised for 10 days before the game is even played. I guess that’s why they call it the blues.

Success is always about timing and in 2024, incoming Maguire has done exceptionally on this front.

If he performs badly this year, he will be given another year at least, simply because of the players out with injury. However, I am confident he won’t need excuses.

Billy Slater and Michael Maguire State of Origin

Maroons coach Billy Slater and NSW Blues coach Michael Maguire pose during the State of Origin Launch at MCG. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

The obvious options are in good form and not scarred by previous failures. There is no pressure, it is the reset that NSW desperately need and the players will be unshackled as a result.

Critically, the positions with the most pressure pick themselves this year. Nicho Hynes and Matt Burton are almost universally endorsed as the halves, what a rare blessing for NSW. These two must be feeling the love because they are in top form and their clubs are winning.

Bring on Origin I.

So, to round out my premonition for the series:

Game 1: NSW win easily. Hynes will guide them around the park, Burton will kick them out of trouble and the NSW pack will comfortably accommodate their QLD counterparts.

Game 2: Queensland will play like a team under pressure. Uncharacteristic errors will be made, and some old legs will be shown to be lacking. A frustrating, grinding game that NSW win.

Game 3: another comfortable NSW win. The post-try celebration of the grenade pull is re-enacted, and an arrogant and enduring NSW dynasty begins.

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