Category Archives: State Of Origin
Well…that was certainly an Origin match. It had everything you would want from Game 1 of a State of Origin. That perfect recipe included a (one-sided) fist fight, big hits, Trent Merrin’s bum, GI’s famous fend, Cameron Smiths in-famous kicking game and a record-breaking crowd at ANZ stadium.
So why did I leave the game with a sour taste in my mouth? I mean the Blues won their first Game 1 since 2008 and they actually look like a team that could defeat a hall of fame Queensland squad. Everything about this game should be exciting for me as a New South Welshman…but it wasn’t.
I don’t want to win like that. I don’t watch football to see a team full of thugs walk onto the field and literally beat the other team into submission. That’s exactly what NSW did last night in Game 1. Paul Gallen punched Nate Myles in the face 5 times (if you include the original swing in the tackle). Now I’m not sure what game I’ve been watching for the last 10 years but that’s a send off offense. He should have been marched from the field like ANY other player who is playing this game would be…but it’s a Wednesday night and he is the captain of the Blues. Woeful.
Not only that but that was front page news…’bring back the biff’. Really? That’s just terrible and one of the reasons parents don’t want their kids playing rugby league.
Greg Bird, Andrew Fifita, James Maloney, Anthony Watmough and Trent Merrin did everything that could to make the Maroons pay for every play they made. High tackles, niggle in the play the ball and sneaky leg lifts were a go to move for these grubs. At one point Fifita tackled Billy Slater and then bashed him 3 more times just for the hell of it. That is atrocious.
And what was the penalty count…NSW with 3 and QLD with 4. I can think of 6 different penalties that NSW got away with just off the top of my head. I think on every kick that QLD put up, James Maloney would rush from wherever he was to attack the QLD player attempting to catch the ball. That’s just grubby. Fair enough if the player is standing next to you but to actually go out of your way to drop the shoulder. That’s yuck…
But…there was a shining light…his name is Luke Lewis. His man of the match numbers from last night:
80 mins, 18 runs for 176 metres, 1 try assist, 4 tackle breaks, 32 tackles and 1 line break assist….super human numbers.
By far the shining star for the NSW team. He was (and forever will be) my favourite Origin player. Any NSW dream team I can think up will always start with Lewis as my first selection. I was worried he might have lost something this year but last night he shut my mouth. He played hard and he never stopped. Why would Penrith let a player like him go?
Speaking of Penrith letting players go…How good was Jennings? He just loves Origin and he is just made to play it. His power and speed meant he definitely owned his opposite centre (Justin Hodges) last night. QLD might want to think about swapping Inglis to that left side for Game 2 otherwise Jennings will continue to run riot like he did last night.
From QLD I thought Thurston was the biggest liability in both attack and defense. He missed 5 tackles last night and his attack left something to be desired. Luckily Cooper Cronk picked up a big load of the kicking game because JT wasn’t at his best.
Lastly I thought there was great opportunity for NSW to pop Josh Reynolds into the game with about 12 mins left on the clock. His rapid fire running from dummy half would have hurt the older big men in the Maroon jerseys. He could have added that extra spark right at the end…which NSW really needed when you consider the last 20 mins saw QLD complete 6 of their 8 sets.
All and all I still don’t think NSW won anything other than 1 game in a best of 3 series. The biggest test (as always) is winning at Lang Park. I assumed the plan will stay the same and the Blues will try to rampage their way to victory. Sad really because I hate Thugby League…its not the game I love chatting about so much.
Here is what I thought of last nights game in 500 words. (FYI – I won’t be talking about the Greg Inglis try)
Part 1 of our 3 part State of Origin series
I don’t see any way that NSW can win tonight. Queensland are stronger, faster and smarter than this squad that Ricky Stuart has put together. So as a New South Wales fan why would you subject yourself to watching the game tonight? Well besides the fact its Origin there are few little things I’ll be looking out for and maybe you should to. They include:
[Part 3 in my 3 part Origin series]
If you are just joining us check out Part 1 and 2 here
Tonight’s game is anticipated to be one of the best finishes to an Origin series in years. I heard Gus Gould say it’s “the biggest Game 3 ever played in State of Origin history”. That’s not what we are here to talk about today. I just wanted to use that as a launching point for me because of the 17 QLD players taking the field tonight 6 of those players will be appearing in my QLD Dream Team side I am about to unveil. This should give you an idea of the skill and depth the Maroons have on the field tonight.
So let’s get straight into…please the read the rules I created for making a Dream Team side here before you go any further.
Wally Lewis – Five Eight – 31 GP – 19-0-12
There is a reason why Wally was given the nickname the King. There is also a reason why there is a statue of him protecting the entrance into Lang Park (aka Suncorp Stadium); there is also a reason why he was given 8 ‘man of the match’ awards during his Origin run. That’s because he was the best player to ever play QLD representative football. As a youngster I used to loathe him but as an adult I saw that what he did was brilliant and he cannot be denied his monarchy. To build a QLD team around anybody else is pure lunacy and so that’s why he is my foundation player. Nobody could deny his Alpha Dog status and nobody can deny his creativity and potential to change a game. “I can feel a Four X coming on” so let’s move on.
(Below are some notes I made about the rest of the team when selecting them – although most of them need no explanation)
(Players Number-Name-Position-Games Played-Win/Draw/Loss)
1.Darren Lockyer – Fullback – 33GP – 17-2-4
How many of you saw Wally’s name and went where will Darren Lockyer play? Or maybe you said where will Billy Slater be? All those questions will be answered at the end of the article.
-Can you imagine Lockyer running off Wally Lewis? It gives me chills thinking about it.
-He would definitely be happy to not have the FP status, one less thing for him to worry about.
-I mean its Darren Lockyer…wouldn’t you have him in your Dream Team side?
2. Dale Shearer – Winger – 26GP – 11-0-15
5. Steve Renouf –Winger – 11GP – 4-0-7
-Good winger combinations of speed in attack and resilience in defence. Also ready for anything my FP could throw at them.
-Renouf was faster than sound back in the day.
-Check out this video of Dale Shearer running down ET. I saw this when looking for a video of ET for my NSW Dream Team and thought to myself that Shearer needed to be in my run on side.
3. Mal Meninga – Centre – 32GP – 15-0-17
-Big Mal gets the spot over the cast of thousands including Justin Hodges, Brent Tate, Willie Carne and Willie Tonga (who has just come back into form).
-Mal and Wally had an awesome connection and this played a huge factor when selecting him over the rest of the big names I mentioned before.
-You could give him the ball at any point and he would be dangerous. Big and strong he probably could have played in the 2nd row. Sound like anyone we know playing today’s game? (i.e. Jamal Idris)
4. Greg Inglis – Centre – 13GP – 9-0-4
-10 Tries in 13 games
-Just like Mal he could create devastation to any defensive line and still does. They both cover enormous amounts of ground with those huge strides.
-Sometimes teams doubt the ability of GI but the fans know he is a game changer. Cast your minds back to the 15th of June (Game 2) and remember NSW putting a huge kick up, Inglis goes up to catch it, juggles the ball and takes off. It was called back for a knock on but I was surrounded by 80,000 people who saw him with the ball and said to themselves “Game Over”. That’s the difference Greg Inglis can make to any side.
7. Alan Langer – Halfback – 34GP – 17-1-6
-His size made it easy for him to slip out of tackles and look for sneaky passes.
-For those of you who don’t remember just think Chris Sandow with a kicking game.
-Alfie was super creative and this may be an issue with Wally being my FP. He might need to tone it down a bit.
-Owner of the 2001 Origin series
8. Shane Webcke – Front Row – 21GP – 8-2-11
10. Petro Civoniceva – Front Row – 27GP – 15-1-11
- 2 of the best role players to ever play the game.
-Webcke struggled with the alpha dog status and maybe why he lost a lot of games. He would be happy to have that burden taken away from him.
-All these guys do is hit-up the ball, tackle everything and do their jobs like it was September football. I don’t want anything more from my front rowers.
9. Cameron Smith – Hooker – 21GP – 13-0-8
-Perfect fit for my FP, definitely wouldn’t clash because he is about as creative as paint by numbers.
-Tackling machine and loves a dummy half run.
-It was definitely a toss-up between Cam Smith and Kerrod Walters for this position but essentially I would be choosing the same player. I went with Cam because he wouldn’t have a problem with filling in as my FP if Wally was to be injured.
11. Nate Myles – Second Row – 14GP – 11-0-3
-Role player – nothing else needs to be said.
12. Gordon Tallis – Second Row – 17GP – 5-2-10
-You need at least one player to intimidate the other side – Tallis is that player for me (side note – Ben Kennedy was that player for my NSW Dream Team).
-Gordie would definitely clash with my FP but I couldn’t make a QLD side without him.
-Owner of the 2002 Origin Series.
13. Gary Larson – Lock – 24GP – 11-0-13
-Larson averaged at least a 15/25 every State of Origin game he played (hit ups/tackles).
-I remember being younger and saying to my dad that “I hated Queensland” to which he replied “so do I, except Gary Larson because he seems alright”. I mean if my old man could say something nice about a Queenslander that must mean he really was (excuse the pun) a ‘Gary Good Guy’.
-Plus the dude was a workhorse. I mean who can match those numbers I mentioned before in the team playing tonight? I can’t think of anyone.
14. Steve Price – Interchange – 28GP – 15-2-11
15. Michael Crocker – Interchange – 13GP – 6-0-7
- Price and Crocker are only on the bench because I didn’t have room to fit them in the run on side. I really didn’t want a Dream Team without these two players.
-Tackles and hit-ups are all they do so they are good fill-ins for my slow forwards.
-Crocker would be a good substitute for Cam Smith if he was to tire or get injured. Plus they both had more mongrel than you can imagine.
16. Dallas Johnson – Interchange – 12GP – 8-0-4
- I’ll give you one stat and then you decide if he should be in the team – Johnson has averaged 35 tackles per Origin game he has played. Not only that but this year alone he is averaging 45 tackles a game at club level. Why is he not in the run on squad for Game 3? You’re telling me Ashley Harrison is better? That’s a joke and everybody knows except the selectors. DJ for lock…wait what am I doing? Am I actually helping the Queenslanders? ARGH!
-I know I keep doing this but Dallas Johnson is Gary Larson 2.0 for sure. Who better to substitute for Gary Larson then his younger better version?
17. Billy Slater – Interchange – 14GP – 9-0-5
I wanted to spend some time on this last selection because it’s part of the Lockyer, Langer and Lewis saga that I went through before. Please know that I do not like Billy Slater. It’s nothing against the way he plays football because I would never hate someone for their football skills. This whole thing is personal. So it got me thinking, why would I put a guy into my Dream Team when I don’t like him? I mean it’s my side so nobody is going to tell me I shouldn’t.
Here is what I decided, I looked at the list of the QLD players and said to myself “is there a better player to come off the bench, for impact reasons only, than Billy Slater?” The answer is no so this left me with no option but to put Slater in on the bench.
I spoke to loads of people about this and these were some of the points they made. I had a think about them and I’ve put in a few responses.
Wouldn’t it better to start Slater at wing over Renouf or Shearer?
No – Billy Slater is not a winger, he never will be a good winger, he is a specialist fullback and I wouldn’t want to waste him on the wing like that.
Couldn’t you swap Slater with Lockyer?
Have Darren Lockyer on the bench? You don’t know much about football, do you?
Wally could play lock, Lockyer at five eight and Slater at fullback?
I actually messed around with this option but at the end of the day I really wanted Lewis to direct traffic. I need him to bark orders and be involved in every attacking option. These are things he cannot really do in the 13 jersey.
Couldn’t you change your foundation player to Darren Lockyer and have him play five eight?
I truly believe without Wally Lewis this whole team could fail. A battle would ensue between Langer and Tallis for Alpha Dog status but with Lewis there it settles that argument 9 times out of 10.
The final verdict is that I’m happy to have Lockyer at fullback and have Slater running off the bench. If you don’t agree with that then show me a better way.
Where would the team fail?
-Considering Tallis, Webcke, Langer and Lockyer have all been ‘top dog’ at one point, it could create a huge rift between the team.
-If Wally or Alfie were to get hurt then I wouldn’t have much to go with as far as my bench goes. I could probably slot Slater into fullback and have Lockyer play 6 or 7. It’s tricky because the bench is rather slow in comparison to NSW.
Where would the team prevail?
-There are more series winners on this team than losers. This would work in their favour as far as confidence goes.
-A spine with Lewis, Langer, Lockyer, Larson and Cameron Smith does not lose. It’s that simple. You can play anybody outside them and they would win.
That concludes first Origin Series here ‘On The Try Line’. I really hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. I want to say a big thank you for the feedback I got for the NSW Dream Team and I want that feedback to come through for my QLD side. You can do this here.
I expect tonight’s game to be epic in the true sense of the word. No matter what the result tonight I’m sure we can expect the drama to lift for the 2012 Origin series. Now if you will excuse me, I’ve got to come up with some fresh ideas for next year’s Origin Series here ‘On The Try Line’
I couldn’t have a website based on Rugby League and not make any comments about last night’s State of Origin match (Some of this might seem rather scrambled because its 12:32am).