What We Learned in Origin 2014

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)

Because if anyone was going to be the thumbnail of this piece, it was Cozza. (SOURCE: Queensland Maroons Facebook page)

Because if anyone was going to be the thumbnail of this piece, it was Cozza. (SOURCE: Queensland Maroons Facebook page)


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 The Black Widow

Queensland Make It 8

I am on the highest of highs… of highs. QUEENSLAND TAKE OUT ORIGIN FOR THE 8TH TIME IN A ROW!!

This needs no caption.

This needs no caption. SOURCE: NRL Facebook page

Tension was running high as the players ran out onto the field for the ultimate decider of the Origin series 2013. This was it. This was the moment. This was the moment for the Blues to shut up their naysayers and stop Queensland’s dominating streak, and the moment for the Maroons to continue their momentum from game two.

Queensland made the first half count with some early points from Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston who racked up a converted try and a penalty conversion. The Blues mounted a comeback with a try from McManus and ended the half at 8 – 4.

I could not sit down during the second half because I can honestly say a game of footy has not kept me on my toes like this in a very long time. The gruelling second half was intense and was nearly too hard for me to watch until my Broncos boy Hodges scored a try at the 61st minute which wasn’t successfully converted. All was well in the Queensland department until SolSat’s Golden Boy Corey Parker let in a try from Merrin at the 71st minute. My poor Parker.

In the final minutes of the game, 10-12 to the Maroons, it was all coming down to whoever was in possession. Just as I thought one of my personal favourites, the underrated Matt Scott would score a try, a stupid, fat, ignorant streaker ran onto the field to disrupt not only the brilliant game that had been played but Scott’s try. An array of colourful language threatened to escape my mouth but I managed to stop it. Streakers – be ready to see an opinion piece on them.

Queensland managed to keep possession in the final seconds of play and seize the victory over the Blues for their 8th straight victory in what was an unforgettable defeat.

Now, it’s time for the SOLST-O-METER!

Solst-o-meter
Even with what I perceived to be shotty officiating from one Shayne Hayne and an absolutely horrendous try-ruining streaker, my boys still managed to scrape up the victory and make it #8inarow.

1. Billy Slater – still exhibits his fine footy finesse and shows why he IS the greatest fullback in the game, despite your personal feelings for the man. RATING: Satisfied.
2. Darius Boyd – bleh first half, somewhat decent second half. If he didn’t ground that ball, I would’ve torn him a new one. RATING: Neither satisfied or dissatisfied.
3. Greg Inglis – I was still expecting a classic GI moment from him but didn’t get any of the sort. RATING: Neither satisfied or dissatisfied.
4. Justin Hodges – my bucking Bronco played excellent! Now if only he could bring that back to the Broncos, that’d be great. RATING: Satisfied.
5. Brent Tate – excellent form here by the Cowboy Tate. RATING: Satisfied.
6. Johnathan Thurston – hands down Man of the Match. RATING: Very Satisfied.
7. Cooper Cronk – some great play from Cronk, nothing earth shattering like I’m used to from him but still good. RATING: Satisfied.
8. Matt Scott – my poor Scotty, his Origin moment was taken from him. Either way, he was still incredible tonight. RATING: Satisfied.
9. Cameron Smith – the Captain of the Squad demonstrated exactly why he is the greatest player in the game today. RATING: Satisfied.
10. Nate Myles – good ol’ Myles, no punch ups this time thank goodness. Wasn’t outstanding but wasn’t bad either. RATING: Neither satisfied or dissatisfied.
11. Chris McQueen – good ol’ McQueen and his green eyes also did not wow me with his performance but he still played pretty well. RATING: Neither satisfied or dissatisfied.
12. Sam Thaiday – Thaiday started off the game firing on all cylinders then kind of went down after that but finished the game on a high. RATING: Satisfied.
13. Corey Parker – SolSat’s darling Corey Parker played the whole game excellently keeping up his great form… until he let that try in from Merrin. You could see that he was tired so I may let that one slide. RATING: Satisfied.
14. Daly Cherry-Evans – DCE didn’t play as well as he did in the second game but he was still fired up keeping me impressed nevertheless. RATING: Satisfied.
15. Ben Te’o – some excellent plays there from the former Bronco. He let out a penalty but also kept up some great defense. RATING: Satisfied.
16. Matt Gillett – my Bronco played well tonight despite giving away a penalty. Deserves a good pat on the back. RATING: Satisfied.
17. Josh Papali’i – the soft-spoken gentle giant’s defense is damn unmatched. His heavy hitting tackles are cringeworthy and then he just gets up with a cute smile on his face. RATING: Satisfied.

Congratulations Queensland Maroons, a well deserved win from all of you. Keep up the good work and make it 9 in a row in 2014! Now to celebrate my victory by decking myself out in Maroon when I go to college tomorrow. Noah out!

– by The Black Widow