Game III brings up thoughts of great returns. Alan Langer, Brad Fittler, Andrew Johns. Is it possible, could we add the name Braith Anasta to this list? What of his half-back Mitchell Pearce, what a time to make a debut! Is this the fairy-tale: The son of a former Origin great making his debut and starring in a series decider? Playing alongside him is a man previously voted “The most overrated player in the game”, previously banished from Origin, but now returning triumphant? Or this: Queensland going down in history as a three time consecutive series champion.
In my estimation Qld has exerted more influence over the series – at no stage have New South Wales truly been dominant. You must remember Qld is the two time defending champion with (at this point) far more depth and options in most positions. Continue reading Rugby League State of Origin Game 3 Preview
How valuable is the result of one game? Queensland were amazingly confident before game one. The positive hype was enormous – “Best backline in history!”. So ferocious was the hype it swept up the Qld selectors. The Maroons in 2006 and 2007 were well-balanced as a team – they played with an inner-belief and faith in the plan of their coaches; they gained strength and confidence from playing in positions they were comfortable with, and had faith in their mates on either side of them to do their job. So successful were they, 2008 presented an opportunity for a hat-trick of titles.
How did things look so dire after one game? Going back before game one, the selectors had a pretty easy job. Israel Folau comes in, and the question is then what of Billy Slater. Does he slot in on the wing, the bench or for the balance of the team he misses out. Continue reading 2008 Rugby League State of Origin Game Two Preview
Game one down, New South Wales 1-0. The game was remarkable for NSW dominance. Yet was there a dominant player for the Blues? Besides Peter Wallace every member of the team did their job to perfection. They were superb in defence – keeping their line, working together, taking advantage of the latitude given to the markers by the referee. Most importantly they realised shut-down Thurston, close down the ruck (Cam Smith) and Queensland have no other ball players. Full credit to Bellamy, outstanding – the hallmark of his teams is their work ethic and everyone playing their role; his team executed perfectly. Continue reading 2008 NRL State of Origin Game One Review