Well it has finally happened: New South Wales have won an Origin series. For the first time in the smart phone / twitter error the Origin shield is staying south. For the first time in their living memory my nephews, all proud Queenslanders, have smelt the bitter aroma of defeat.
It might not have been the best game of rugby league I have seen but boy it was a pulsating contest. Here are my 5 talking points from Game 2:
1. Congratulations to New South Wales
It is simple: when you lose you must congratulate your opponent. So congratulations to New South Wales on winning the 2014 Origin series. I am not an advocate of getting the “dirts” about losing contests like this and simply put, the better side won.
2. Time to lift the “one punch” ban
The NRL CEO, amongst much fan fare, announced 12 months ago a ban on all punches with an immediate sin binning the result for infractions. Can anyone cogently argue that the silliness of that edict did not deleteriously effect the contest last night? The game was screaming out for a fight in the early contests and, to me, a stoush in the first 10 minutes would have reduced the niggle that pervaded the first half. The message to the NRL must be: lift the ban, let the boys sort things early doors and let the game go on.
3. Time to remark Dave Taylor’s card: NEVER TO BE SELECTED AGAIN
Many on social media and in the actual media have been advocated for the selection of Dave Taylor for Queensland this series. Simply put: he is not up to State of Origin standard. Yet again last night he put out a performance in a maroon jumper exemplified by missed tackles and horrid offloads. He is a liability and must not be selected again. Enough said.
4. Refereeing: it is not an excuse but it was woeful
Can any fair-minded New South Wales fan argue that the refereeing in this game was fair? I know I am not a regular watcher in the NRL but in what context has there ever not been a penalty for Hayne’s strip on Thaiday as he was about score? I concede it wasn’t a try but surely the ball had to return to Queensland? And then, to add insult to injury, the ball richoceting off Woods’ chest and out of play with 5 minutes to go being determined to be a penalty to New South Wales is just incongruous with the laws of the game. There is all this technology in the game and yet a decision as simple as that was just plain WRONG. Hayne and Cummins should go the way of Dave Taylor and have their cards marked: “never again”.
5. Gallen and Bird: I am glad they play for New South Wales
Are their two more distasteful players to watch then Gallen and Bird. Every tackle they make includes a fore arm to the head of the tackled player on the ground. Every time they are penalised they scream at the referee. Any bit of niggle or incitement between the players is not their fault. If these two blokes are supposed to exemplify the best of New South Wales rugby league I am happy for them to play in a blue jersey. There are ways to win and ways to lose and the way that Gallen and Bird win, albeit successful this time out, is hardly a way to win.
So that is that: series over. New South Wales can proudly claim to have won 1 series in a row. Bring on the 2015 series!