What a great game of footy Origin 2 was. This time around we got five star attack on five star defence.
Ok, perhaps it was four star defence by the Maroons, but it was five star in most departments, with many players from both States performing at, or near, their best.
It wasn’t fancy stuff. But the simplicity of ball movement that unsettled the D of both sides at times provided us all with tremendous entertainment.
I would suggest without any figures to back it up, just a coach’s intuition, that the ball was passed into, and out of, the outside edge of 10 meters of the field more times than any of us have seen in Origin footy for quite some time.
Phil Gould quoted post-game the number of times the Blues outside backs had run the ball. I reckon the Maroons might have matched those numbers.
But it was more than their runs that opened this match up.
It was the number of passes they received, and often where there was plenty of space and opportunity for them to strut their speed and footwork.
No one did this better than Michael Jennings.
The only thing that I can’t figure out with NSW is why do they pick Jennings if they’re not going to play with this style of attack always? Pick a different, more robust centre then.
If not, get him the ball just as they did this time. And also get it to Moz J and B.
Now, if the Blues are going to play this way again in Origin 3, tipping the ball on early even in their own half and offloading on early plays even if it hits the ground a time or two, let’s get James Roberts into the team instead of the steady but lacking in threat Hopoate.
Roberts is THE hottest player in the NRL at present and has been for way too long without recognition.
If you haven’t seen that play he put on against the Dogs last Saturday, holding hands with his own corner post on last play and at dummy half, you gotta see it!
I can’t remember a more important game-changing play in such a shockingly difficult position EVER.
But back to Origin, and what a try burly and brazen young Tiger frontrower Aaron Woods scored.
For once, just once, a frontrower carrying the ball off the ruck decided to play what was in front of him rather than pass it out the back to his halfback like the team had practiced for.
Woodsy noted his opponent Scott was a fraction too wide at A and drifting out slightly. Great footwork followed that great vision and the confidence required was abundant.
Here’s hoping that every young frontrower watching that great play will be having a crack at it at training this week and then on the weekend.
This wasn’t a Harlem Globetrotters display with outrageous attack over meek and mild defence. It was simple but expansive attack asking different questions of each other’s defence rather than what we have become far too accustomed to seeing in the bump, grind, and bash of Origin and the NRL.
This win was a triumph for Laurie Daley as a coach. It takes balls to make decisions like that in the face of the ugly trend in NRL footy to grind out wins.
This is coach speak for:
Don’t show your skills.
Don’t take any risks.
Don’t make errors.
Don’t lose the game.
I call this coaching DOWN.
It’s the opposite of trying to win the game.
That’s coaching UP. NSW played UP.
Queensland showed some good attack, too. However, I think there is a fear for them now that they lack the speed and agility across the board to deal with a team that attacks with such variety as the Blues do when they have that license to play UP when its on.
I can’t wait for Origin 3.
And James Roberts?