Perhaps I’m the only one but I find myself thoroughly unenthused about State of Origin III tonight. Now that NSW have slain the 8 in a row dragon there seems very little to get excited about.
I’m convinced that I am not the only fan who feels this way as the breathless anticipation and fervor that has accompanied the build up to every Origin game in recent years has been conspicuously absent this time round
Laurie Daley has already taken a few pot shots at the Queensland fans for the slow take up of tickets but that is not the only indicator that this game may not have the same feeling to it as games one and two.
Partially of course this is because the game is a dead rubber, although this is not the first dead rubber game in recent times. Over the last eight years of Queensland dominance there have been three dead rubber games, with New South Wales avoiding the clean sweep in 2007 and 2009 and Queensland wrapping up three zip in 2010.
However in recent years even those dead rubbers felt like they had some meaning to them. Wednesday night’s game however feels limp by comparison.
The key difference between the dead rubbers in 07, 09 and 2010 is that in each of those years there was still a narrative for the game. It was about New South Wales searching for some sort of dignity and in 2009 and 2010 it was about the seemingly interminable search for the correct 17 for New South Wales.
Neither of these narratives is likely to be a factor on Wednesday. I know Queenslanders take great pride in their attitude to Origin but do we really expect that the Maroons players are really that focused on revenge after losing for the first time after eight years of dominance?
As for the team building narrative Queensland are far from the New South Wales of 2009-10 – flailing around for the right mix of players. Queensland selectors already know who they will chose for game one next year give or take one or two bench forwards.
The final games of the 07, 09 and 2010 series were dead rubbers but this game feels significantly deader, like Red Viper of Dorne dead.
It is no exaggeration to say that the consensus about game two was that, epoch ending result aside; it was a pretty low quality game. One can only cringe at the prospect of a similarly dreary game with much less at stake.
We will all still watch and no doubt our friends at Channel Nine will assure us many, many, many times that “every Origin is special” but it is hard to believe that either the players or the crowd will be quite as motivated for this game.
Read Lachlan’s work regularly on the Roar and follow him on twitter @mrsports83
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
Feb 21, 2020 0