State of Origin wrapped up for 2011 last night with a resounding win for Queensland, giving them six consecutive series wins and sending off Darren Lockyer in almost the perfect manner (perfect would have been 3-0).
A few thoughts on the games:
- Game 1 showed how Queensland’s attacking defence can stifle the NSW playmakers and snuff out their go forward. The fact that Matt Scott gained more ground alone than all of the NSW forward pack combined is a testament to both his skill as a prop and the team defence.
- If not for the Maroons poor execution in Game 1 the lead would have been 20 points. I can think of at least 3 occasions when a try went begging because of a simple mistake.
- NSW did play well in Game 2, however Queensland played incredibly poorly and not a patch on their usual ability. They were shell shocked early and by the time they got out of it, it was too late. Mind you they almost did it…if Inglis has held the intercept pass it would have been a 10 point turnaround.
- Game 3 was a sublime display of rugby league…the first 30 minutes at least. Queensland completely owned the Blues and spent 81% of the first 30 minutes in NSW territory. It was lucky they only put 24 points on them. As for the first NSW try…it was a totally arsey piece of play and didn’t warrant the exclamation of “the tide is turning”. The score greatly flattered NSW as they were not even in the competition.
NSWRLChannel 9 commentary team were simply appalling. A great bunch of biased blue-eyed toss bags I couldn’t dream of running across. Listening to them calling the second game was just torturous…I recall them verbally dry-humping every NSW player for a solid 20 minutes at one point. Then they had the temerity to point out that yes they were biased, but they had two callers biased towards Queensland as well…despite the fact that neither of them was actually calling the game.
- Once again the referees distinguished themselves with their mediocrity. Maybe they’ve been given instructions to let as much go through as possible, because there were some appalling high shots let through as par for the course. I swear that every tackle Glenn Stewart made in the first 10 minutes was around the jaw of the Queensland player. And yet they feel the overriding need to disallow a try because of “driving”…what the hell is that about? Don’t we see that every week in the NRL?
- Paul Gallen. Seriously is this guy a meat-axe or what? I know the NSW press is seriously in love with him, but since when does 1 excellent game and 2 average ones make you a superstar? And what was with the incessant whingeing to the referee? Every time NSW got called on a penalty he was up in the refs face pleading for a second chance…”come on Gov, I know his head has been knocked off but that doesn’t warrant a penalty…he viciously headbutted my forearm”. And then capping it off with his graceless speech at the end about refs calls just shows how classless he really is. I know they must set the bar pretty low down there but really? I suppose they did crown Mitchell Pearce the “best halfback in the world”…not sure in what sport but based on last night’s game it wasn’t rugby league.
I fully expect a bunch of “Origin is dead” stories to start floating around now…very much a case of taking your bat and ball and going home. Either that or “Ricky the genius” will be working on his master plan for next year…probably getting centres to play in the forward pack because they’ll be REALLY mobile, and it worked once didn’t it?
All in all, a great day to be a Queenslander. GO THE MAROONS!!
Ah…I love the smell of white-wash in the morning!
It was a ripper of a game last night, with NSW finally making a contest of it but the Maroons coming out on top as the deserved to.
Unfortunately the game was let down by an increase in the grubby tactics of the Blues. I guess knowing that an overt fight wouldn’t unsettle the Marrons at all they stepped up the niggle and grubby stuff.
As an example, I can only think of a few occasions where a Qlder was tackled and DIDN”T have someone holding on to his head while he was on the ground. I’m all for aggressive defence but attacking the head should be totally stamped out.
Add to that another hair pulling incident by Girl Gidley and that disgusting hit on Slater by Scott and it would be fair to say that their aim was to bash Qld off their game once again.
On another note, I had regained a modicum of respect for them up until last night’s game, thinking they had regained a sense of balance but once again the NSWRL Channel 9 commentary team’s disgustingly one-sided commentary made me yearn for the days of Roy and HG. Every time NSW did something remotely positive they would gibber on about it for ages, ignoring the next 3 tackles. And don’t get me started on their worship of Hayne…he makes two runs and a partial break and suddenly he’s “superstar Jarryd Hayne”. Give me a break…the guy’s second string and not even a serious contender for the Oz fullback spot. This is probably the best he’s played all season and even then he only did it for about 30 minutes…Slater does it week in week out for 80 minutes.
Finally the Australian Test team…this should be interesting. By rights there should only be 2 NSW players in the whole team…and that’s being generous.
Hayne as a direct swap for Folau…not that he’s the next best winger, but that the ARL board has a hard on for him…and none of the NSW wingers were any good at all.
And Learoyd-Lahrs on the bench…he’s played pretty well for them the past couple of games and deserves his shot.
Apart from that I don’t see how they can justify not picking every other Qlder…there wasn’t a poor player in the lot and they all thoroughly deserve it.
Back in the real world it’ll be totally different. The selectors will have been given a directive to make the squad evenly representative of both sides, so players who don’t deserve to be there will get another run.
If any more than 4 NSW players get picked you know this is the case.
With the series wrapped up in game 2 there’s only 2 things to play for now…for NSW its to save face, for Qld it’s to grind NSW into the dirt with a 3-nil whitewash.
Looking at the teams its good to see that NSW are sticking to their tried-and-true method of mad panic and desperation to win at least one game. 8 changes!!! Are they kidding?? surely by now they would realise that the lack of team stability is one of the factors in their habitual thrashing.
Admittedly they have made a few wise selections…Michael Jennings and Luke Lewis for a start. but then they go ahead and pick the usual liabilities i.e. Paul Gallen and Kurt Gidley. With 4 debutants, including 2 props I think they are really going to struggle. The new guys will either be overwhelmed by the occasion or worked up way too much and go all Luke O’Donnell.
For mine, Qld to win by 12.
What are your thoughts?
What can I say about last night’s game that hasn’t already been said? It was just magic. It was almost enough to make me feels sorry for the Blues, but then again nothing is ever that bad.
Once again they reverted back to their traditional playbook of when the skill level isn’t high enough, let’s bash the other team off their game. It may have worked in Game 3 last year but the Queenslanders were completely ready for them this time.
And once again Paul Gallen showed why he is NSW’s best pick to get a Qld win…every tackle he did had some sort of swinging arm in it. I’m surprised it took him as long as it did to concede his first penalty.
As for Luke O’Donnell, how he stayed on the field I will never know…once again the refs don’t have the stones to enforce the game. O’Donnell was just lucky he had his teammate pinning Dave Taylor’s arms when he decided to throw a headbutt and an uppercut. If Taylor had an arm free he would have been eaten alive. I see elsewhere that nothing will happen to him for the headbutt…not really surprised now that it has been legitimised for NSW players…after all he didn’t REALLY mean to do it, and it was really soft anyway.
And yet again the refs showed their incompetence when it counts…lucky Qld had such a big lead at that stage. After all what can you say about a try disallowed off a forward pass that was backwards, the non sending off for the hideous spear tackle, and the knock-on against Qld that clearly bounced off Hayne’s head then hit Slater.
What are your thoughts on the game?
State of Origin 2 is still nearly a week away but a few things have come up that merit some attention.
- The NSW team. I don’t know how they keep doing it, but with all the players they have to choose from they have once again picked a team ready for a big loss. I mean picking your captain as an interchange player? Admittedly he’s not good enough to start in any of his positions, but why not make someone who’s actually going to be playing a full game captain. And Paul Gallen? Thanks for the two penalties and numerous brain snaps he’s going to provide…much appreciated. And then they wheel out the second part of last year’s “winning” team Trent Barrett. Seriously? Why not take a punt and put in a younger player and give him a couple of games to grow into the role…instead of the usual one strike and you’re out policy. Admittedly they have generally picked players in their preferred position but I can’t see them getting up at all. It seems like their selectors are focussed on winning the next game at any cost, rather than building a team that can win a series. I’ve always thought they would rather pick a team of superstars than a superstar team.
- Jarryd Hayne. Congratulations to the judiciary…you have now just legitimised the headbutt in rugby league. His defence was “he was holding on to me so I did it so he would let go”. I’m guessing Hayne’s arms are just painted on then? I mean really, that sort of pissweak excuse can get you off? Of course only if you are a star for NSW…forget about it if you are from Melbourne or anywhere north fo the border. And they agreed that because it was such a soft headbutt it shouldn’t matter…so degree of harm plays some role in it now? So if you gently spear-tackle someone into the ground it’s much better than doing it faster? The next step will be to grade headbutts in severity…then it’s on for young and old.
- Israel Folau and the ARL. Do the ARL (Colin Love in particular) think they are kidding anyone when they say they want to change the rules to ban Folau for the 3rd game for the good of the game? They just don’t want him to play against NSW full stop. Quite frankly I don’t think they have a legal leg to stand on and it will only backfire on them publicity-wise if they try to go ahead with it. The fact is that he is a contracted player for the 2010 season and as such is eligible for representative football. He is not employed by the AFL at the moment. The only publicity he has given the AFL was on the da y of his signing…in fact it is the ARL who are keeping the code switch fresh in everyone’s mind by keeping to bring it up. If they just let it go it would be a non-event.
So with that out of the way…my early prediction is Queensland by 6. Go Maroons!!!
1-0 1-0 1-0 1-0!!!
Now that’s out of the way, more on the game itself.
As expected NSW really struggled to get any combinations working at all. The Qld outfit pretty much dominated from the 15 minutes mark right through until 10 minutes to go when they relaxed a bit.
Once again NSW paid the price for picking players out of position. Lyon might as well have not been on the park at all, Hayne was a liability on the wing and Gidley did pretty much nothing (except whine when Thurston pinched the ball) until the final 10 minutes.
The scoreline totally flattered NSW as it didn’t reflect the dominance Qld had through out the game…and if Creagh didn’t knock that ball on in the last try the video refs must be kidding themselves.
Good news for Qld is that they can keep pretty much the same team for the next game…with maybe a swap of Ballin for Smith…I wouldn’t change a single thing at all.
As for NSW, who knows what they’ll do. If past history is anything to go by we could expect at least 6 changes…all of them the wrong players. If we’re lucky they’ll put Gallen back in…..