Queensland has wrapped up its 7th straight State Of Origin series with a thrilling 21-20 win at Lang Park. A field goal from 45 meters out by Cooper Cronk ended up being all that separated the two sides in a win that see’s Fijian born Petero Civoniceva retire as the most capped forward in Origin history.
Queensland come out like they were shot out of a gun and it rattled New South Wales early on. However, just 8 minutes into the match, a lot of fire came out of the Queensland forward pack and New South Wales started to make some inroads.
To me, the game was won and lost in the first half. After surviving the early onslaught New South Wales managed to build an 8-0 lead mid way through the second half, and by half time that had turned into a 8-16 deficit.
You can point to decisions all you like, but the fact remains that New South Wales got what should have been a commanding leading early in the game, and they gave it up completely.
I personally felt the Justin Hodges try should not have been allowed. That is an old fashioned shepard that would have been given as a penalty in 1908, let alone in 2012 when you have someone reviewing it on a video replay. It didn’t overshadow the terrible defense by New South Wales on their own line in that play, but at the same time you can’t run behind a straight ball running option, and you never have been allowed to going by any interpretation of the rule book.
In the second half, amazingly, New South Wales managed to fight back scoring two tries and stopping the Queenslanders from crossing their line. Both teams copped some poor refereeing decisions but once again it was New South Wales who let themselves down with silly mistakes at crucial times in the match.
The try scored by Josh Morris however was spectacular! It was one of the best State Of Origin tries you will ever see! At the end of the day the only thing that topped it was the Cronk field goal that was taken under pressure and from a long way out.
I thought the Queensland forward pack played a lot better in the third game than it did at any other point in this series. New South Wales seemed to lack the same go forward they had in the first two games. Tamou was smashed throughout the match, Gallen and Bird were good but not great, and I felt like Luke Lewis was left on the bench for way too long and brought on way too late.
One thing I felt going into this game was that the Queensland outside backs looked a bit threadbare. That ended up being the case at the end of the day, with only the Maroons halves and Greg Inglis the only players to trouble the defense.
Looking over this series, I think Justin Hodges will be lucky to be back in a Maroons jersey next season. He has been very average through the entire series. In fact if you had to pick which side looked to have the better outside backs going into next year, I don’t think its even close, New South Wales has far more talent and more depth in talent.
The major difference however is in the halves.
I felt like Todd Carney played better as the series went on. I can’t be too critical of him. He probably didn’t run the ball as much as you want, but he did try to run the ball when he saw space in front of him. I think Queensland did a pretty good defensive job on him in this series and even then, he managed to break them on a number of occasions.
Mitchell Pearce, once again, left me extremely underwhelmed. Yes he is young and he has well over a decade left in this game. He just doesn’t create anything in attack, he doesn’t take on the line in big games, and when you look over his career at his big game performances, they are terrible.
Even if you are looking at Pearce as just needing to game in, guide the team around the park and make sure he has a sound kicking game, I don’t even think he is doing that. There is only so many times you can put it down to his age. There are also only so many chances you give him before you simply have to look at your other options.
There’s is no doubt the axis of power is shifting in State Of Origin football. As Queensland’s side slowly ages and champion players retire, the Maroons are starting to look like they are ready to be beaten. On the other side of the field, the New South Wales lineup for the most part have the best years of their careers ahead of them.
That won’t automatically translate into success, but it is a blood good grounding to start from. All this talk of passion at State Of Origin level is a load of crap. It only comes out when one side had more talent than the other.
When you go into the decider with both teams winning a game each, and the decider is won by a single point, you can’t ask for much more than that.
I though Nate Myles was a deserved winning for the player of the series away. He was easily the best forwards in the Maroons lineup. I also want to say that I have no problem with the Queensland crowd booing the New South Wales side after the match. If you’re pissing and moaning about that you need to harden up!
I really enjoyed this series. I’m bitterly disappointed that New South Wales lost, but I get the feeling they improved out of sight this year and next year they could go in as favorites.
Lets hope the ARL pulls its finger out of its arse and fixes the eligibility rules ahead of the 2013 series. That has been really embarrassing for the game and really, it has made a mockery of the State Of Origin concept.
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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