Everything UK viewers need to know ahead of State of Origin Game I: TV details and preview

It’s been said a lot before, but many regard State of Origin as the pinnacle of rugby league.

Apart from international rugby, you’ll travel a long way to see a game of rugby league so fast, so physical and adorned by such a level of skill other than State of Origin.

Come Wednesday morning UK viewers will be able to again dig their teeth into this exceptional standard of rugby league with Sky Sports set to broadcast the opening game of this year’s series.

Coverage starts on Sky Sports Main Event and Arena at 10:00 and will be shown for three hours including plenty of pre-match build up from the best minds in rugby league down under.

Come 20:00 that night, an hour long highlights package will be available on Sky Sports Arena for viewers not around during the day.

But enough about logistics, let’s talk about the game.

Here’s the team Brad Fittler has named for the fixture: 1. Tedesco, 2. To’o, 3. Staggs, 4. Wighton, 5. Tupou, 6. Luai, 7. Cleary, 8. Haas, 9. Cook, 10. Paulo, 11. Murray, 12. Sims, 13. Yeo, 14. Crichton, 15. Martin, 16. Campbell-Gillard, 17. Matterson, 18. Hynes, 19. Frizell.

The problem for Fittler is the loss of the attacking threat provided by Dally M Medallist Tom Trbojevic and South Sydney’s Latrell Mitchell. The duo often figure at centre almost as extra fullbacks and provide huge attacking threat and their ability to break tackles is vital in what are often exceptionally tight with difficult defences which hard to break through using set plays.

This has also led to completely new centre-wing partnerships which has led some to speculate that this could make them weaker in defence out wide.

Interestingly, there is no Josh Addo-Carr which saps the side of some Origin experience.

As for Queensland, Maroons legend Billy Slater has named a very traditional Queensland side: 1. Ponga, 2. Cobbo, 3. Holmes, 4. Gagai, 5. Coates, 6. Munster, 7. Cherry-Evans, 8. Fa’asuamaleaui, 9. Hunt, 10. Papalii, 11. Capewell, 12. Kaufusi, 13. Cotter, 14. Grant, 15. Collins, 16. Carrigan, 17. Nanai, 18. Dearden, 19. Arrow.

Traditional as it ticks all the boxes for what we expected from a Queensland side back in the day when they enjoyed a monopoly over the Shield: there’s hardworking forwards, pacey outside backs and creative players who, unlike their New South Wales counterparts, won’t be restricted by structure and will play what they see.

The most interesting call is the selection of natural halfback Ben Hunt at nine with Harry Grant on the bench. However, Grant has excellent experience at coming off the bench and changing a game and could do so again.

That was back in 2020 and was the only Queensland win in State of Origin for years – can they get back on top and take the win in Game I of the series?

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