New South Wales has secured their first State Of Origin series win since 2005 with a 6-4 win over Queensland at ANZ Stadium.
This was one of the weirdest State Of Origin games I have ever seen. Both teams looked gun shy for 70 minutes. There wasn’t much attacking football to speak of, neither side has too many chances to put points on the board, and the niggling and rubbish in the play the ball was the worst I have ever seen.
The game started out with both teams looking to just grind down the opposition. That grinding down period lasted most of the game.
It was clear early on that Daly Cherry-Evans should not have been playing in this game. I admire him for being out there and doing his best, but he was playing on one leg. that left Queensland with one playmaker all night in Johnathan Thurston, and Thurston had one opf the worst games of his career.
The New South Wales halves were not much better.
While Josh Reynolds work rate was great, he made a number of mistakes in attack that really could have cost the Blues. Trent Hodkinson meanwhile looked hesistant to take over the playmaking duties until very, very late in the game.
The inability of both sets of halves to take over the contest saw both forward packs go to war.
For New South Wales, Paul Gallen’s work rate was phenomenal. It would be very easy to say that he got in the way at times and tried to win the contest all on his own, but it wasn’t as though his halves were in position to do the work he was trying to.
For Queensland, Nate Myles is always there, always the toughest forward for the opposition to take on, always in the Blues face…he is a bloody good player who doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
I thought Robbie Farah had a pretty ordinary game. He made a few really dumb decisions for a player of his experience. He wasn’t alone though, plenty of players just played really poorly in this game. The effort was there, the thinking and skill was not.
Josh Dugan did a very good job on Greg Inglis, who looked for the ball more in this game but he was still a bit quiet. I think in game 3 the Maroons need to move him to fullback. He is still young enough that he could play fullback for Queensland for another 5 years or so.
Jarryd Hayne was kept quiet and didn’t get too many opportunities. The defense on Hayne in this game was better though and while Hayne targeted Thurston in the defensive line Queensland made sure he didn’t break through.
I thought the on player on the field that showed his true class was Michael Jennings. Jennings was brilliant in defense and managed to cause a few problems in attack with the very little ball he saw.
It was really unfortunate to see Brent Tate suffer another knee injury. You would think that just enough spells the end of his career. The other big thing that stood out for me was the way Johnathan Thurston simply lost his shit late in the game. Whether it was through frustration or fatigue, Thurston resorted to dirty tactics and allowed Josh Reynolds to get under his skin. I’ve never seen that before from Thurston.
This was a really tough game and both sides looked like they froze up little due to the occasion. As a New South Wales supporter, I couldn’t have been happier with the result though.
I’ve always said that life feels good when New South Wales hold the State Of Origin shield. I love State Of Origin football and all of these years of losing have been hard to take. To finally win the series again is fantastic, and I hope New South Wales can go up to Queensland in a few weeks time and make it a series sweep.
Keep an eye out as later toward I will post my always controversial State Of Origin player ratings!
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
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