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.
First off I wanted to say I’m sorry for the lack of articles this season. Its getting harder and harder for me to manage my job where I get paid (aka 9-5) and the work I do for On The Try Line (aka my passion). I’ve actually got a few articles in the ‘draft’ section but they are old and outdated. Secondly, I’d like to thank my brother for the clever name of this article (his fantasy team has the same name). Here is an article I’ve been thinking about since Round 4.
I’m going top give you a little resume of a player and I want you to tell me who you think it is:
He is a 2o something year old fullback who in his debut season scored 17 tries in 16 games. He is one of the fastest, most creative fullbacks who has appeared in that club for almost 10 years. He is the kind of player that commentators love saying his name, opposing coaches hate seeing him score tries and fans just LOVE with every part of their body.
He won the Dally M Player of the Year award and in the same year led his team to the Grand Final on the back of what some would say was ‘the best football played in the last 5 years’. He is the kind of player who makes his team look first class no matter how little experience or skill they really have.
Although his team didn’t win the Grand Final…losing to the juggernaut that is the Melbourne Storm…you got the sense that this player was onto bigger things. Until the start of the next season…when everything went wrong.
So who am I talking about?
Nope, not Ben Barba…let me give you a hint. Re-read that passage again and think about the 2009 NRL Season.
Yep it’s Jarryd Hayne.
How have we missed this MASSIVE comparison between what Jarryd Hayne did in 2009 and what Ben Barba did last season?
The lead up to the finals in 2009 saw Hayne do some amazing things including this and this (side note – I love the comments Rabs makes in both of these videos). You couldn’t fault this kid and people were excited about what he could do on the field. People became Parra fans going into that GF (if you weren’t a Melbourne fan) just because we all fell in love with Hayne. Now watch this…that try against Manly is actually what set off the comparison. I remember thinking to myself ‘man this reminds me so much of Jarryd Hayne’.
Still don’t believe me?
Both Grand Final teams (2009 Parra & 2012 Bulldogs) had Krisnan Inu (yeah and before you say it the dude is CURSED), both teams had rookie 5/8′s (Mortimor and Reynolds), stalwart halfbacks who were chasing contracts (Robson and Keating), one player who drove you crazy as a fan (Mateo and Pritchard), polarising Islander big men (Moimoi and Kasiano) and a host of players ready for the scrapheap (Reddy, Grothe, Lowrie, Ben Smith, Corey Payne, Sam Perrett and Greg Eastwood). Now most of those players aren’t setting the world on fire..I mean some of them have played for New Zealand and 1 of them has played Origin football (Grothe). Yet both fullbacks took those teams to the Grand Final.
I’m sure with those last few lines I’ve totally offended Bulldogs and probably Parra fans but the truth of the matter is that the Bulldogs haven’t started the season the season the way they wanted to and I think most fans are waiting for Ben Barba to get ‘back into form’.
But ask yourself this question…what if he IS in form? What if the way he is playing is what you should expect from him every weekend? What if last seasons ‘run’ was just a freak thing much like the taking off of the 2009 Hayne Plane?
To me it appears that the 2012 season is the ‘black sheep’ of Barba’s NRL career. His first season he played 3 games and the Bulldogs didn’t win one of those games. His sophmore season he was dropped to NSW Cup after a fight with Jamal Idris. 2010 saw him earn the nickname of ‘The X Factor’ but mainly because he was injected into games at the 50th minute off the bench. 2011 was his first season as a starter and he topped the try scorers list for that season.
The truth of the matter is that Ben Barba had an amazing year in 2012. Maybe too good a year. Losing him for 3 games has had the reverse effect on the team as far as confidence and creativity go. Outside of last nights game he really hasn’t been a factor, let alone ‘The X Factor’ for Canterbury. The season isn’t over but if I’m a Doggies fan I’d start hoping my team can grind out wins rather than hoping that the 2013 Barba will become the 2012 Barba.
9 games into the NRL season and I’ve already made a hit list of things that I like and dislike about 2013. Lets get into it!
Lets be honest…most of the stuff they are talking about on any rugby league related website right now is just junk. Players complaining about not getting paid enough, shoulder charges being banned, the return of Sonny Bill, the loss of Folau…its all just the same old boring crap. So instead of going on and on about that stuff, I would like to do something a little bit different. I want to talk about the current roster of team mascots…(wait before you close the explorer page…I promise to make you laugh just once. It will be worth it)
It was the first week in October and we were enjoying the froth from a cool beer. I remember that beer vividly because we had purchased one of those stupid Heineken kegs that give you 40% foam with your beer. But it was grand final day so nobody really cared HOW the beer tasted.