I do not like making predictions, and by no means is this one. Sport is amazing phenomenon – without regard to our well being, we invest ourselves emotionally in teams, players, games and events.
Some of us more than others.
As we approach kick off for Origin III (6.5 hours away!!!), NSW supporters are more than familiar with the colossal task ahead. What is alarming for the team south of the border (who are starving for some Origin success) is that their coach Laurie Daley (who has gone into his shell since Game I) isn’t attempting to hide his concern. If you take a step back and assess the elements, you can’t fault him for his actions.
Laurie Daley’s article this morning was nothing short of an anxious plea to the Blues and their supports.
A cry for effort and determination from his players: ‘Our build-up hasn’t been ideal and there have been a few setbacks with injuries to Jarryd Hayne and our skipper Paul Gallen, and yes, we will miss them both’.
Plus an appeal for pride and encouragement from their devoted fans: ‘Whether you are watching the game on TV or at a pub or cheering from the stands – let everyone know that you are a proud NSW supporter and these men are out there playing for you as much as they are themselves’.
Since Queensland commenced their supremacy, the Blues most consistent and greatest performers have indisputably been Jarrod Hayne, Paul Gallen and Greg Bird. Hayne and Gallen are forced to sit this chapter out, while Bird will take his place in the side, despite supporting a moon boot up until the weekend.
By no means is this a small advantage for QLD; it’s gigantic! All this chat from the NSW media is absurd. ‘No Paul Gallen Gives NSW Blues More Balance’. This pathetic media is clearly a ploy fueled by desperation. Name one team-sport in the world where losing or resting a teams’ best assets consequently gives them a better chance of victory? There isn’t one. You ARE AN IDIOT to believe in this scenario.
Think about it logically, if a team performs better or is ‘more balanced’, without a certain player or group of players, why the hell would you select them in the first place? How can you believe a guy like Aaron Woods, who had just 36 meters in Game II, will provide more go forward than their inspirational captain Paul Gallen, who has 312 meters in the series?
Maybe QLD should rest Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Greg Inglis for tonight’s decider. You know, so they are better and a ‘more balanced’ side as well…
The build-up and preparation of each Origin camp no doubt had a massive influence on the results of Games I and II.
Game I. The Maroons were all over the shop. Injury concerns to Thurston, Boyd, and Hannant, however the biggest of all, the allegations against Ben Te’o. His actions, guilty or not, created a distracting amount of media attention. The Queenslander’s were suffocated by the flurry of media crews throughout their camp. NSW Victory.
Game II. It was the Blues turn to be in the spotlight. Hayne was scratched, there were concerns for Gallen, James Tamou decided on some drink driving, and of course, more late night shenanigans from Beavis and Butt-head: Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson. QLD Victory.
Game III. Since 2006, it’s the first time that QLD haven’t changed their line-up in consecutive games. Where as the Blues are down two of their most important pieces – and their third is returning from injury.
What I look at is that Queensland have won three out of the four halves this series, and in the key position test (numbers 1, 6, 7 and 9 – the team with better players in these spots normally wins) the Maroons are in better shape.
I don’t blame Laurie for his frantic article, he is right; NSW fans need take over ANZ Stadium – that is their greatest asset tonight; home field advantage.
Yes I am a Queenslander, and yes I won’t nothing more than 8 in a row (well I want decade of dominance too); this is just an opinion based on my sporting experience. By no means am I stating that QLD have this in the bag, I’ve viewed too much sport to be that naive. I’m simply pointing out details that I have learnt from previous experience, which usually assists in determining sporting outcomes.
Australia has witnesses some incredible sporting moments that were never meant to happen. The Penrith Panthers defeating the star studded Sydney Roosters in the 2003 NRL Grand Final, Australia beating Uruguay in a penalty shoot-out in the 2006 World Cup Qualifiers, plus the Maroons victory in 2006 (I love Darren).
This is why sport is truly epic. If the Blues manage to unite through this adversity it will be an extraordinary underdog story. If they don’t, they will use their misfortune as an excuse.
I guess they’ve tried everything over the last 7 years, why not try a new tactic – admit their weakened chance and hope for the best.
It’s sport, anything can happen.