State of Origin 2012 Game II preview
We are just hours out from State of Origin Game 2, a pivotal, must win game for the New South Wales Blues.
While the majority of the pressure is firmly on Ricky Stuart and the NSW Blues, the Queensland Maroons will have their hands full trying to close out the series.
The NSW Blues
The Blues have definitely named a stronger side for Game II. Does that mean NSW can win? Yes.
NSW needs to go back to the first 20 minutes of Game I and replicate that for the full 80 minutes. The constant dummy half running up the middle of the ruck was undoing Queensland’s big forwards, and was the main reason why the Blues were making twice as many meters on their sets of six tackles. (Thank goodness for Nate Myles).
Decision-making. Paul Gallen and his side need to display better decision-making if they want to win. One of the many poor decisions by the Blues in Game I, and no not the appalling choice to take the 2 points, was to keep bombing Brent Tate.
Why decide to bomb Tate three or four more times after he had already defused two highballs in fantastic fashion? Why not bomb Billy Slater and Darius Boyd whose confidence levels were low after both dropped high balls that resulted in points? This incorrect play was a sign of inexperience from the new hooker/halves combination.
Todd Carney MUST show up. Todd shied away from the ball in Game I and must find a way to be more involved in Game II. With his speed and ability to take on the line, Carney has the potential to cause some serious problems for Queensland.
Apart from his huge kicking game, one area of Todd’s game that he has always excelled at is choosing when, and when not, to run the ball. The majority of the Blues attack in Game I was thanks to Mitchell Pearce, who predominantly isn’t known for his running game.
This allowed QLD to sit back and drift more in defense leaving NSW with barely any space after performing a second man play. If Carney attacks the line early and gives QLD something to think about, this will leave more space out wide, in theory, this should allow Hayne and Jennings to pick up from where they left off in Game I.
If the Blues concentrate on attacking up the middle, get Carney involved early, make correct decisions, and utilise Hayne and Jennings’ running games, QLD are in for a difficult night.
First and foremost, Billy Slater will not play as bad as he was in Game I, so watch out New South Wales. Cameron Smith, battling flu, was also a shadow of his usual input.
If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. We all know how QLD can win, just look at their team on paper. Most commentators and fans these days lose sight of the fact that this is, without a doubt, the most talented and strongest team in Origin history.
In regards to their Origin preparation, and their on field and off field play, QLD have a special formula right now.
It all originates from the Queensland Academy of Sport Emerging Origin Squad that Wayne Bennett initiated years ago when NSW were completely dominating. From here the Maroons underwent a massive transformation, which shows through their 6 years of domination.
Rediscovering the passion is the critical reason behind the introduction of this academy, and is something NSW have finally started to duplicate.
In 2006, Queensland were five minutes away from losing four series in a row. Thanks to Darren Lockyer and a horrible pass from Brett Hodgson, QLD have created history and are hungry to extend their streak to seven years straight. One play, one pass, one movement can change the entire course of a game. Jennings’ brain explosion combined with the video ref confusing the NSW public were the talking points of Game I.
The quality of tonight’s game will be higher than Game I and the end score should be very close. QLD have continued their normal approach, while Ricky Stuart continues to throw bombs out trying to spark a reaction. I have no doubt the off field drama will result in a brawl tonight.
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