State of Origin III: the hits and misses
- State of Origin 2014 news
- Rugby League news
- NRL news
- State of Origin Results news
- 2014 NRL trial games news
Congratulations to the Maroons. To the victor goes the spoils. There can be no complaints. No cynicism. The best team won (again) and it was only a minor miracle that the final score was that close.
For Blues fans the end result was akin to a night out at a strip club. After a few hideously expensive bourbon and cokes and a couple teasing lap dances from a girl called Candy you convince yourself you might actually score. After making a sly grab for her thigh you get slapped across the head and some big, burly bastard with more ink than Todd Carney and attitude than Russell Crowe tosses you out on your arse empty handed.
That being said, here are some of my observations from last night:
1. It was a game of two halves:
I’m not talking about two forty minute periods of play either side of an annoying ad break, but rather Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston versus Carney and Mitchell Pearce. Listening to talkback radio this morning and this topic is already being flogged to death. But since I love jumping on a bandwagon as much as every other Sydney (insert Swans, Kings or FC) fan here’s my two cents worth.
The Pearce / Carney combo show about as much creativity as script writers for professional wrestling and are just as bleeding obvious. There’s been a long list of halves post Andrew Johns – Finch, Gower, Gasnier, Mullen, Kimmorley, Bird, Anasta, Wallace, Pearce, Campese, Lyon, Barrett, Soward, Carney (thanks for the list Purple Shag http://www.theroar.com.au/2012/07/05/queenland-success-is-hangin-with-mr-cooper/) – but this combination is by far the most dour and dismal.
If I were a Blues forward I’d be reasonably upset that after slogging it back out of the danger zone and getting pummelled by Sam Thaiday, Matt Scott and Petero Civoniceva, the Mitch and Todd show gift wrap a kick downfield straight to Greg Inglis. The scary part is, what are the options if we sack them? I shudder to think.
2. Weapons of mass destruction:
Last night delivered the usual array of cheap shots, aggressive shirt pulling and the occasional thrown handbag. Not unusual for an Origin decider and certainly nothing that should trouble the match review committee too much. But there is one area of play I’d like to draw their attention to, and that’s Nate Myles and his massive head.
Normally a noggin like that will make you a prime target for a big hit, but Nate turns a potential weakness into a devastating weapon. You see Nate leads with his head…and the prospect of getting shellacked by that battering ram coming at you at full pace has got to put even the bravest of souls into two minds. I really think the NRL needs to look into outlawing Nate’s illegal use of forehead. It’s an unfair advantage and is just not in the spirit of the game.
3. GI Joe:
Pound for pound the Queenslanders have got NSW covered at almost every position, with Paul Gallen the only definite to slot into the Queensland side. The Cane Toads are simply too big, too strong, too skilled and too powerful. Honestly, who’d pick Stewart over Slater, Jennings over Hodges, Pearce over Cronk or Farah over Smith?
The disparity was most obvious each and every time the Blues vainly attempted to put down Greg Inglis. Watching GI standing in a three man tackle, swatting away the handful of annoying cockroaches scurrying around his feet was a sight to behold.
It was like watching that massive German Barbarian in the opening battle scene of Gladiator, decking swarms of Roman soldiers with his massive club. It wasn’t until about five Praetorian’s jump on his back and knifed him from behind that he finally went down in a bloody mess. Maybe that’s our strategy for next year. Ricky please take note.
4. At least it was close:
After all the hype and build up around this being the most important Origin game in years (not unlike the decider last year or the opening game the year before that!) it was refreshing to see the game actually live up to expectation. After Hodges scored the Maroons third consecutive try to put them up 16-8 at halftime it looked like another whitewash.
But the Blues battled back gamely and really made a contest of it, despite playing two men down in attack (see point 1). Gallen was superb as always, but there’s something eerily familiar about the way he leads the line, makes try saving tackles and continues to cart the ball forward, yet ends up on the losing team. Is Gallen the Nathan Hindmarsh of Origin football? I sincerely hope not, because watching Hindy plough away like a carthorse without any success is absolutely heartbreaking.
Anyway, congrats to Queensland again – the masters of Origin football. I hope the 18th XXXX you knocked down last night tasted every bit as good as the real beer they drink in NSW.
The Roar is giving you the chance to win 1 of 19 prize packs to Australian Open 2014! Each lucky winner will receive four evening tickets to Rod Laver Arena, plus access to 3 hours in the Heineken VIP Bar. Enter here.
The Roar needs an editor! Tristan is off to tackle a new role with us over on Techly.com.au, which means we're looking for someone to fill his boots. Love sport, know digital publishing (yes, that does mean being a bit of computer guru) and keen to work with the team in Newcastle? If you're a proven superstar, or someone on the rise with a record to back it up, we want to hear from you. Apply now!
We're also looking for freelance writers who know tech, gadgets, games and trends inside and out to join us on this new adventure. Get in touch if you've got the goods.