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3 days ago
New South Wales must overcome Queensland's massive start in the experience stakes to win the 2003 State of Origin rugby league series.
Queensland's advantage is one of the biggest in Origin history heading into game one at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday night. Wayne Bennett's squad of warm favourites boasts more than double the number of Origin games than the new-look Blues, who will blood five rookies.
Chasing their first series win since 2000, the Blues have played a combined total of just 59 Origins, compared to the Maroons' 128. The massive gulf in experience is even greater than last year when the "Baby Blues" - featuring seven newcomers for the series opener - tallied 53 matches to Queensland's 117.
NSW's turbulent build-up has led to bookmakers installing Queensland as the series favourite for the first time ever - and the selection of five centres and no specialist five-eighth in Phil Gould's squad won't exactly have punters rushing to back the Blues.