First he defended the shield, then he claimed back-to-back medals.
As the dust settles on Game 1 of the 2019 State of Origin series, the state south of the border is left to contemplate what went wrong.
Queensland did very well and played with a fiery intensity – all credit to them.
But I don’t care, I am a New South Welshman, I love the Blues – I’ve screamed “Up the Blues!” religiously all week at work.
» State of Origin Game 1: Final score and results
» Five talking points from Game 1
» Re-live The Roar’s live State of Origin blog
» GORE: Queensland won because they’re better at Origin
» WATCH: Full State of Origin Game 1 highlights
» Origin Game 1: NSW Blues player ratings
» Origin Game 1: Queensland Maroons player ratings
Blues hall of famer Tommy Raudonikis coined the term ‘cattle dog’. Once it was screamed out of those harsh and passionate lungs, it was on. Time for some chin music.
Origin is the most brutal display of rugby league on Earth. Queensland reminded us why at the beginning of the second half, playing with a pace and brutality that stifled NSW.
They rushed like madmen to keep the Blues down their own end, they ran the ball with strength and continuously broke the advantage line, making metre after metre. They completely won the arm wrestle.
Origin of the 1980s and ’90s was a different story – it was truly brutal, the modern game has changed a lot (for the better).
But even as I watched the 2014 series, which broke the drought for NSW, I noticed something that I didn’t see on Wednesday night.
Cattle dog. Mongrel.
As Josh McGuire thrashed around with his knees in a tackle, he clipped Angus Crichton on the forehead. Angus just ate it.
When NSW was feebly attempting to get out of their own 20, Felise Kaufusi, Jai Arrow and Matt Gillet came steaming out of the line to put shots on and rattle the young Blues.
When Queensland had the ball, NSW were just tackling. When there was a little extra ‘how’s your father’ in a tackle, there was no confrontation.
Paul Gallen was the perfect example of what NSW is missing. Every. Single. Tackle.
Forearm to the face on the ground.
A green-grass facial.
A cheeky, inadvertent headbutt.
He hated Queensland as much as the fans do.
We are just too nice. We are simply playing footy. We aren’t playing Origin.
I worried about this last year too, but then our brilliance with Damien Cook and James Tedesco saved the day.
If we are to allow that to happen again, we need to get stuck in and match the intensity.
It’s the only way we win.