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Are the Maroons the greatest rugby league side in history?

Selecting the Queensland Origin side. Is there an easier job in rugby league? (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
Expert
17th July, 2013
50
1083 Reads

A really good question, but the answer is no. The St George Dragons of the 50s and 60s are still the benchmark in my book..

For 11 straight years – 1956 to 1966 – the Saints ruled the rugby league roost.

The likes of Ken Kearney, Ian Walsh, Norm Provan, Billy Wilson, Harry Bath, Reg Gasnier, Johnny Raper, Graeme Langlands, Eddie Lumsden, Johnny King, Poppa Clay, and Billy Smith, to name a few, made the white jersey with the big red V so famous.

Gasnier, Raper, and Langlands are three of the code’s eight Immortals, the most from any club.

Provan, Gasnier, Raper, and Langlands were named in the Team of the Century, again the most from any one club.

Watching them play in the unlimited tackle era was watching total dominance.

They owned the football, they owned the game, they owned the premiership.

The current Queensland side has its smattering of wonderful talent, with Cameron Smith, their inspirational skipper, Greg Inglis, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, and Johnathan Thurston the five best players in the world.

And not far behind them Justin Hodges, Brent Tate, Darius Boyd, Sam Thaiday, and especially last night – Matt Scott.

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So mighty Mal Meninga’s Maroons have won eight straight series.

But they sure didn’t have it all their own way last night in front of a record 83,813 ANZ Stadium Origin full house.

The scoreboard still showed they won 12-10 as NSW squandered perfect chances to pinch the game by losing possession four times inside the Queensland quarter.

The question has to be asked how can NSW so consistently bomb scoring tries?

They have done just that all series and they can’t afford to let such a top side off the hook by losing patience with fundamental and basic errors when it counts most.

Interestingly, NSW has fielded 253 players in the 32 Origin series, while Queensland has fielded only 177 – 76 less Queenslanders is highly significant.

Even more significant this series has been Laurie Daley’s pre-series selection of Mitchell Pearce as the Blues half-back, when Rabbitoh Adam Reynolds was clearly the better and in-form player.

Daley fell into the trap former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans set for himself by ignoring Quade Cooper as fly-half against the Lions, which cost the Kiwi his job.

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Whether Daley will lose his job remains to be seen, but Pearce certainly won’t be part of the next campaign.

And it would be a brave man to bet against the Maroons matching the Dragons’ 11 straight, the longest winning streak in rugby league history.

Like their rugby cousins the Reds, the Maroons honestly believe they are invincible.

Until New South Wales match that genuine belief in both codes, they can forget about ending the drought.

And while it’s boring to some, it would be the ultimate in being churlish if the Maroons and Reds weren’t saluted by those who believe in Blue.