Debutant Nathan Peats holds key to Blues' success in State of Origin Game One

Nathan Peats
Nathan Peats at New South Wales training (Getty)

Veteran Rugby League commentator Ray Warren is tipping the Blues to get the job done in the opening match of the State of Origin in Brisbane on Wednesday night.

The Blues were poor in the 2016 State of Origin, going down 2-1 but only salvaging a victory in the final match of the series.

Warren told Trackside Radio on Wednesday morning that while he wasn't a man to bet on rugby league such was his commitment to being unbiased, he was backing the Blues for the first time in eight years.

"You've only got to look at the facts and the figures as far as who's in and Queensland are going into this match without four of their major weapons," Warren said.

"I haven't tipped New South Wales in eight years but I think it's time to tip them."

For the first time in over a decade, Queensland will be without the key trio of Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater who are all sidelined with injuries.

While the Maroons will have captain Cameron Smith who's been in great form for the Melbourne Storm, Warren's not sure he can do it all himself.

"Cameron is probably the smartest, the most studious, the wisest and the craftiest player I think I've ever seen in Origin football.

"But the leadership of the team doesn't just lie in the hands of the captain, it lies in the hands of the leadership group and he's lost a heap of those.

"There's a lot more responsibility on Cameron and he looks around and he's got no one left in his executive committee if I can put it that way."

Anthony Milford
Anthony Milford will be hoping his purple patch will continue (Getty)

Broncos half Anthony Milford has been given the task of filling Thurston's shoes.

While the 22-year-old is likely to have all eyes on him in his debut Origin match, Warren believes the key to the game lies is Blues debutant hooker Nathan Peats.

"[Peats] is on debut but his style is to take advantage of any weakness around the dummy half area, no markers, one marker, he'll play straight ahead.

"He likes to get out and do the colourful things whereas the other bloke [he replaced] is pretty much a more straight up and down dummy half and I think that's the biggest change in this New South Wales side.

Defensively, Warren was under no illusion as to who the Blues will target.

"I worry about the New South Wales backrowers absolutely just targeting Anthony Milford, he might be in for an awful pummelling in defence."

"There mightn't be any juice left to show his brilliance in attack."

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