NSW halves problem is solved
Maloney was already impressive through the first two games but putting him in the number 7 jersey and key play-making role was the best move NSW has made in years. Despite playing his first ever game at five-eighth in an origin game, Moylan looked very comfortable in the role. If the Panthers allow him to develop in the same position he could easily make the number 6 jersey his own. Moylan’s biggest flaw in the first two games was his ability to return kicks which he no longer has to do which will allow him to focus on being a dangerous playmaker. James Tedesco, while contained tightly in attack, performed very well in a running and returning fullback role thus solving the problem in the first two games. Bird’s impact off the bench in the halves was equally effective in game 2, and without Dugan’s injury it would be likely that he would’ve done the same in game 3. Forget Adam Reynolds, he blew his chance; he has played poorly in origin and at club level since he was selected.
Defence still reigns supreme in Origin, but the difference is that NSW are actually have the talent to create more opportunities now. No forward managed to average more than 10 metres per carry last night and none of the QLD forwards even cracked 100 running metres. The line defence of both teams was mostly rock solid all night. Most of the tries scored were caused by offensive errors.
Queensland are still strong, exemplified by winning the series, but considering Nate Myles is struggling to maintain his spot in a lowly Manly roster he definitely should not be playing Origin. Walters made it easy for himself this year by banning all the young talent from playing but next year he will have some tough decisions to make. Players such as Munster, Napa, Holmes, Barba, Lowe, and Milford are all playing extremely well at club level and at least a few of them should demand selection in the near future. While Queensland has a winning formula, the NSW team has finally formed a great young squad which has the potential to truly challenge the aging QLD team. For NSW, Blake Ferguson is the only player whose spot should be up for grabs next year as Boyd Cordner should slot into the gap created by Gallen’s absence.
The brutality of that game was exciting to watch. It reminded me of why Origin is such an exciting event. The previous two games had been slightly lackluster, but with 2 sin binnings, Inglis’ putting a shot (shoulder charge) on Dugan which gave him a broken jaw, and Klemmer coming extremely close to biting Gagai’s head off made this game one of the best to watch in years. It will never happen but it is nice to dream about a situation where special immunity was given to origin so that players could play as dirty as they liked without punishment. Pile NSW’s speech sun on top and you have a great stage set for State of Origin in 2017; there should be no lack of tension.