Five things we learnt from State of Origin II

NSW can win a series!

It has been years coming, but NSW have finally broken the drought. It wasn’t done in spectacular style, but it was a hard fought grinding affair, the type Origin is famous for.

Queensland battled hard, and looked at one stage like stealing the show, however some uncharacteristic mistakes, and some refereeing blunders got the Blues home for their first series win since 2004.

The Maroons amazing streak ends at eight series in a row.

While a lot has been said about the Blues winning, not enough can be said about how amazing the Maroons streak has been.

They have won from the impossible situations, dominated NSW, and just been so good for so long. While the Blues players and fans have the right to celebrate now, the Maroons have had a right to celebrate for a long time, and still do. Famous last words, but this effort is unlikely to be repeated.

It is negative, but has to be said. The Referees were ordinary.

Aside from missing Josh Reynolds punch that started the stoush with Thurston, and apart from missing the Aaron Woods touch at the kick off, the performance of the referees was poor.

The main problem was their inability to penalise anything, that let the niggle go on in the game for too long.

The NRL has banned the biff, yet it seems that everything else is fair game. Nearly every tackle was plagued by elbows to the face, and a number of swinging arms went unpunished. It seemed that provided there wasn’t a push and shove that stopped the game, the officials weren’t going to make a call.

No one wants the referees whistle to dominate Origin, but the game could have been freer flowing had they shown the players that foul play would not be tolerated.

Paul Gallen is a wonderful leader.

The Blues captain once again led from the front. He gained the most metres in the contest and in a number of scuffles, stood out of the melee barking at his players to just get on with it.

After the fallout from last year’s punch on Nate Myles, Gallen seems to have learnt he is best leading through his running game and paving the way for his players.

He admitted before the series that he didn’t mind lighting the fuse for Origin, or being the enemy of Queensland, but he seems determined to do so through the proper channels now.

It was a captain’s knock last night.

The NRL don’t have a sense of theatre.

The Blues win in front of their home crowd to take their first series in nine years of Origin, yet have to wait till they travel north for game three before they receive their trophy.

What a ridiculous scenario!

Consider that Queensland may have the bounce back factor, in front of a large home crowd, that don’t want to be watching the NSW team lifting the squad anyway.

If NSW go to Queensland and lose the game, or get soundly beaten, the receiving of the trophy will lose some of its gloss.

The moment was there, in Sydney, in front of their fans, in a game they took the series.

The NRL let that moment slide.




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