You’re only going to get 3 points of interest tonight because that’s I’m emotionally equipped for, and there’s only so many ways to write “lazy”. Let’s get this over with shall we.
- That was 70 of the laziest minutes of football I have seen in a good long while. The Newcastle Knights put up more effort and desire against the Bulldogs on the weekend in a game that essentially meant less than nothing. For the entire first half New South Wales waited diligently for Queensland at the 10 meter mark, never once pushing forward in defence, cutting down the passing lane or putting pressure on the runner. Queensland received 10 meters in their laps as a gift, every single hit up for 40 minutes. There was a brief 10 minute period early in the second half where we ran strong, tackled hard and actually made some ground. In an amazing coincidence, we also scored during this period. Rather than maintain the pressure, the Blues clearly decided they’d rather wait for Queensland to fall over and it was back to half hearted tackles, dawdling to get onside and an apparent disinterest in the outcome of the game. I can name one player New South Welshman that poured his guts into that game, but I’m going to keep it to myself.
- Valentine Holmes had played one game of Origin prior to tonight. Cameron Munster was on debut. They are the next generation of Queensland player. Next year there will likely be further changes, Thurston has declared that he is not returning, Cronk is no certainty to play at all next year in any form, Smith and Slater also are on the verge of hanging up the boots. If New South Wales aren’t careful, these fresh faced recruits will inherit Queensland’s smug sense of superiority and the attached assurance of winning that comes hand in hand, and we’ll be back to square one. Origin is not a game where you are able to wait for your opportunity to excel, you have to wrest control of the game, and the series, from the opposition at every opportunity.
- Struggling with the weight of his own inflated head, Fafita was ordinary at the very best. On more than one occasion he received the ball at full speed, only to hit the breaks two steps from the Queensland defence and basically collapse into their arms like he was auditioning for Pride and Prejudice. I think Bird, Klemmer and Graham (despite his ill timed and costly penalty) all outplayed the men in the starting position and I’d be pushing Fafita to the bench, if not further next year, if he’s invited back at all. In his (very slight) defence, he was set upon by the Maroons every time he got near the ball, clearly identified as a threat. Conversely, Cameron Smith, PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE, was allowed almost free reign, seemingly invited to stroll through an enormous hole in the defensive line with little effort. If you require assistance identifying Cameron Smith as a threat, you don’t belong in the NRL.
Since we look to be settling in for another decade of disappointment, let me make a proposition. Next year, Queensland can pick whoever they like, Smith can keep playing, Cronk can get a start from park footy or whatever, get Thurston back, hell even Wally Lewis can lace them up again if he wants. New South Wales can sack all these professional muppets and field 17 punters who want to put a little heart into it. I’ll play hooker.