The first week of June generally spells Origin for rugby league fans across the country.

Madge vs Slater, Haas vs Carrigan, brute contests that are certain to ignite ferocity and a bit of on-field and off-field controversy.

On paper, the 2024 Origin series seems a classic stalemate – aided by high stake storylines like Selwyn Cobbo’s No.17 role and the late inclusion of former Blues skipper James Tedesco.

Kickoff on Wednesday night is at 8:05pm (AEDT), Accor Stadium, Sydney. The Blues are hungry for a first series win in three years, while Billy Slater strives to keep his unbeaten series record intact.

To provide an insight into the minds at The Roar, our roaring rugby league experts have offered their tips and thoughts on tactics and stand-out players for the series opener.

Michael Hagan (Former Maroons coach)

Queensland by 4

First Try Scorer – Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow

Man of the match – Reece Walsh

Queensland have more experience in the key positions and I believe Reece Walsh will have a huge influence on QLD’s performance.

Paul Suttor (The Roar expert)

Blues by 2

First Try Scorer – Brian To’o

Man of the match – Payne Haas

There’s a sense of extra oomph in the NSW team at the moment. Michael Maguire says he won’t be changing his line-up but it wouldn’t be a surprise if a bigger body starts the match ahead of Cameron McInnes, whether that’s Isaah Yeo or Spencer Leniu. Queensland rely heavily on Reece Walsh in attack but the Blues have a sturdy edge defence on either side of the ruck that has the pace and experience to handle his incisions.

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)

Blues by 12

First Try Scorer – Joseph Suaalii

Man of the match – James Tedesco

James Tedesco returning to this Blues squad is one of the most significant team changes in the history of Origin. From being dropped as captain to being recalled only due to injury, just like his form for the Roosters, I’m expecting a huge game from him. He has a point to prove and will remind us why he has been the best Blues player in decades. 

Tim Gore (The Roar expert)

Queensland by 8

First Try Scorer – Xavier Coates

Man of the match – Patrick Carrigan

NSW might be at home but they have multitudes of debutants and players with minimal origin experience in their side. And Queensland have the better spine players, with DCE leading the way. 

Pat Carrigan was made for Origin and I expect him to lead the Maroon pack to dominating the Blues forwards through his relentless efforts in attack and defence. 

Stuart Thomas (The Roar expert)

Queensland by 18

First Try Scorer – Cameron McInnes

Man of the match – Ben Hunt

In what looks something of an odd Origin encounter considering the quality absent for the Blues, the Queenslanders will win in a canter. Tedesco set to have a shocker with a number of errors, missed tackles and poor decisions and Walsh and Tabuai-Fidow to score five tries
between them. You heard it here first.

Stirling Taylor (The Roar expert)

Blues by 10

First Try Scorer – Brian To’o

Man of the match – Nicholas Hynes

The Blues may be down on first-choice halves, but there’s a sense of mystery in their new look backline that has the ability to wow. Jarome Luai muted his boombox out in the Blue Mountains and seems a little more mature come Origin 2024. I love the appointment of Jake Trbojevic as skipper, while not a flashy player, a traditional tackle low forward who wears his heart on his sleeve. It seems New South Wales have a certain ‘spirit’ this year.

AJ Mithen (The Roar expert)

Blues by 14

First Try Scorer – Stephen Crichton

Man of the match – Angus Crichton

I know it’s fraught going against Queensland, but can’t go past the Blues for game one no matter how slick the maroon backline looks. Madge Maguire has assembled a team of similar approaches and similar focuses which is a big deal for Origin. I think they’ll be a little more forward focused than Freddie Fittler’s teams were and that’ll be the difference. 

Nick Wasiliev (The Roar expert)

Blues by 4

First Try Scorer – Jeremiah Nanai

Man of the match – Jake Trbojevic

I am notoriously bad at picking State of Origin – so this is going to be fun! This entire period of the season always throws me off – you only have to look at my NRL tips from the weekend!

Regardless, despite the song and dance in the media, I’m backing the home side in a very close game, even to the point where I think Queensland will score first.  Slater’s team is the more settled side but in all honesty, Maguire and the squad won’t mind being written off – it removes a lot of pressure and gives them the element of surprise. 
Given Accor Stadium is their statistically strongest home ground, I’m going a surprise home win – whether they win the series is another question.





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