It is a fact that there is a warehouse in Queensland full of boxes. In those boxes are maroon colour t-shirts. On the front of those t-shirts is a big, dirty sticker that reads “9 in a row”.
I’ll be thinking of those t-shirts tonight as New South Wales runs out onto Lang Park looking to sweep the 2014 State Of Origin series.
The lead up to State Of Origin 3 has been different. It has been subdued. New South Wales has talked about enjoying their success and wanting to finish the job off. Queensland…well, they haven’t said much of anything.
When Mal Meninga made the decision that he didn’t want to be associated with the Maroons State Of origin team in any public capacity this week, I think that said a lot. After years of hearing about Queensland passion and pride, here we had the state coach hiding away, forcing his captain to turn up and try to sell the game to Maroons supporters who all of a sudden can’t be bothered to sell out their medium sized stadium in the heart of Brisbane.
As the rats and filth of New South Wales celebrated success, Queensland couldn’t find a hole big enough to hide Mal Meninga in. How ironic…
If New South Wales win tonight’s match and ends Queenslands amazing run of success with a 3-0 series sweep, you have to wonder about the future makeup of the Queensland team.
This New South Wales team is good, but it isn’t as though they are running out champion players like Kenny, Fittler or Johns out there. This is a team that has won the series based on heart and desire. New South Wales just got sick of losing. They were going to run themselves into the ground before they let Queensland win the 2014 State Of Origin series.
All of Queensland’s stars are getting older. Many are over the age of 30. For a while it seemed like every good young kid coming through the ranks of NRL clubs was another bloody Queenslander. Over the last few years the tide has turned. How many times have you watched a great young player and said “He’s from New South Wales? Really?” over the last couple of years.
Losing one series isn’t enough to make Queensland worry too much. Losing a series 3-0 when they played two games at home…that is a concern. When you consider that in just three years time a lot of the stars Queensland build their success around might not even be playing any more, the warning signs are all there for a generational change in State Of Origin.
Does an era of New South Wales dominance begin with a 3-0 series win in tonight’s match? Time will tell…