The biggest sporting series in Australia is now over.
State of Origin 2014 saw angry words thrown around, dodgy calls made by the refs, butterfingers dropping balls at the most crucial times, and people not seeing a pass being thrown at them. Oh, and Oscar winning “injury” performances from players.
But if there are a few specific things that we have learned over the Origin series, these would be it:
(DISCLAIMER: As a loyal Queensland supporter, I will try my darndest to be as liberal as possible regarding the situation)
1. Corey Parker can offload from a boat in Switzerland completely blindfolded and still do it properly
Now I’m not just saying this because he is so obviously my most favourite player in the game – and possibly one of my biggest idols in the world – but Corey Parker is the King of offloads. While he missed game two due to an unfortunate facial fracture, Parker’s performances in game one and three were so outstanding that even I was surprised of all the tricks he was pulling out of his tight sleeves. It’s just like… how? His performance last night in game three was definitely worthy of the Man of the Match award he was so rightfully given. Well done, Cozza!
2. Trent Hodkinson is as great as everyone makes him out to be
I was personally not sold on Hodkinson being the halfback for NSW because I didn’t think he was that great in the Doggies. I just thought he was okay… above average at best. However, Hodkinson and his dark, dark soulless eyes proved me wrong, especially in game two where he brokeded my heart and won the series for NSW. Sadface. He’s actually a stellar playmaker for both the Blues and the Doggies and I will go on the record and apologise for selling him short.
3. Not everyone is cut out for Origin
So I went into the series believing that Dave Taylor was the most in-form forward in the league and it was a travesty that he wasn’t selected to be part of the team for game one. Alas, in game two, my prayers were answered, and Taylor proved me… wrong. I would literally cringe watching him get the ball because I knew it would be a matter of time before he dropped it. The same could be said for Matt Gillett and Chris McQueen. Both of these Queensland players are outstanding in their respective clubs – Gillett being in best career form for the Broncos – but in the Maroons side, they kind of failed. The same could be said about last year’s Blues halves, Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney.
4. Origin is more emotional than people think
During the last moments of game two, my anxiety kicked in and I literally had a panic attack over the game. After we lost the series in the most disappointing game two I’ve ever seen, you know what I did? I cried. I shed actual tears over a rugby league game. I retired to my bedroom to cry some more, and then my sister joined me, and then we ate Maltesers in the dark in complete silence. If that alone doesn’t highlight just how emotional this game can get, you’re kidding yourself.
5. Queensland isn’t unstoppable
Some footy fans were lulled into a false sense of security because our side has outstanding players, “The Big Four” included. Couple that with our eight in a row series wins and I went into the series thinking that we had this in the bag. I felt generally safe, thinking that until Slater, Cronk, Smith and Inglis would retire, we’d always win. Well, clearly we didn’t. When it comes down to it, the Blues played better overall and as much as I don’t like it, they deserved to win this year.
6. The no punching rule is stupid
I miss Origin biffs. Bring them back please. All these “let’s get into each other’s faces and breathe deeply and not do anything and mutter angry words to each other” situations are really pathetic. I was expecting to see some fists flying last night because, hey, NSW had already won, but no. It’s just part of the rugby league culture to get into a physical disagreement now and then. Deal with it.
7. Hayne is not better than Slater
The rivalry between these two players has been well documented over the years, so much that some Blues enthusiasts have said that Hayne is better than Slater. Well, Queensland fan or not, that is simply not true. If not demonstrated by Slater’s performance versus Hayne’s performance, Slater is clearly the more talented fullback. Even if he does get away with a couple of misdemeanours that others can’t.
8. The referees need some serious counselling
Now, I’m not going to single out one individual ref, but I think the NRL referees in general need some guidance when it comes to calling the most important rugby league series of the year. Too many times have we seen stupid calls made this year and that alone has ruined the spirit and buzz of Origin. Please, referees, I have four words for you: sort your shit out.
Needless to say, congrats to the Blues and their very aggressive fans. You finally broke our streak. But we’ll be taking our trophy back next year, thanks.
CALL TO ME, CALL TO MEEEEEE.
– by Noah La’ulu