WIZ: Origin 2? State versus State, Mate belting Mate
State of Origin was a very emotional night for the Wizard. And not necessarily for the reasons one might expect. Needless to say, I enjoyed the spectacle and the whole experience of being at the ground immensely.
And what a game it was.
I think it’s the toughest Origin match I’ve seen: players were dropping like flies, Ricky Stuart rode every play through the expressions on his face, and a massive crowd willed the Blues to hang in there and repel those mighty Maroons.
And they did. I loved it.
From the opening whistle, when the youngster Grant, on debut, ran straight at his former teammate – and idol – Petro, and sat the big fella on his backside, the scene was set for how the game was going to be played out.
Everyone gave 100%.
Queensland kept fighting all the way through, and the emotion from the fans and the players – not to mention coach Stuart – was palpable.
It was just a very special night all round.
Thankfully, there were no major refereeing blunders to steal the headlines this time, which meant that the players and the game got the post-match pats on the backs they deserved.
And there were some magical plays to look back on, too.
Darius Boyd did something special when he knocked the ball back for Inglis – you don’t see that every week – Robbie Farrah tackled like a man possessed, and Greg Bird was magnificent, again.
And how about the spectacle of seeing Ricky Stuart camped on the sideline for the entire match. I thought that was amazing. What’s more, he was standing up the whole time.
I was exhausted watching the game and I was sitting down. It made for good TV, that’s for sure.
Obviously the Cronk binning was the turning point. But Origin is all about those key moments. And somehow the players kept the intensity up for the full 80 minutes.
Gary ‘Wiz’ Freeman is one of the great halfbacks in New Zealand rugby league history. Now an outspoken and popular media personality, he joins The Roar as an expert rugby league columnist.
Bring on Game 3! It’s sure to be one for the ages.
Gary 'Wiz' Freeman is one of the great halfbacks in New Zealand rugby league history. Now an outspoken and popular media personality, he joined The Roar in 2012 as an expert rugby league columnist, and continues in 2013.