A week at a time: Round 14
NSW forced to replace injured bolters
NSW were forced to make five changes due to injury (six in total) for game II of the Harvey Norman State of Origin series. The two players who came under most scrutiny when selected in Game I – Josh Dugan and Michael Jennings, were two of the Blues best in the opening game.
When they were unavailable this time around it was seen as a major blow to the Blues chances. These are the same two players that caused much debate when they were named in the first place. It seems Ricky Stuart was right on the money with his selections – has he got it right for the clash at ANZ Stadium? Only time will tell.
NRL.com sat down with Stuart for an exclusive one-on-one interview – Click here to watch
Queensland lose Tonga, gain superstar
Queensland’s side didn’t have many surprises and demonstrated their embarrassment of riches when injured Willie Tonga was replaced with superstar Greg Inglis. At a time where NSW have been forced to recall Anthony Minichiello from the Origin wilderness, Inglis reclaims his rightful place in the side. It’s a luxury the Blues can only dream of at the moment.
The only other change was Jacob Lillyman, who can consider himself unlucky not to be in the side, replaced by the ‘coal train’ Dave Taylor. A victory for the Maroons would make it a record six in a row and ensure inspirational leader Darren Lockyer gets the send off he deserves.
You had to feel sorry for the Canberra Raiders and their coach David Furner last week; it was the stuff of nightmares. The Green-Machine blew a 22-point lead and lost Josh Dugan and Terry Campese to add insult to - well injury.
It was looking like the Raiders would have a dream day out. They were running riot over the Cowboys and favourite son Campese was sitting on the sidelines set to return from a lengthy lay-off through injury. At one point the commentators joked that Campese could ‘put his suit back on he won’t be needed today.’
How cruel the game can be.
First Dugan went down (4-6 weeks) and the crowd stood to a man as he was replaced with Campese. In the space of 10 minutes, Campese went down as well (possible season) and right on cue the Cowboys proved why they are a top four team to come back and snatch the match.
The bye could not have come at a better time for the Raiders to try and recoup.
DID YOU KNOW?
• NRL Club memberships have reached a record high this season, eclipsing 180,000 across the 16 clubs. This is a 29% increase on 2010!
THIS WEEK ON NRL.com
Mid Season report cards – find out how your team is going and what they need to do to make a run at the finals - Click Here
Fans chatted live to Queensland hooker Cam Smith. Find out everything from his beep test scores, to the biggest change in Origin football – Click Here
Official View – The biggest talking point of the weekend was the no-try decision to Rabbitoh Dave Taylor – But referees co-coach Bill Harrigan says the referees got it right -
NRL Mailbox – This week we look at the role of women in the game and reveal all the statistics and numbers that matter.
Stats Insider – we break down the game into 20 minute sections and discover where you team is most likely to score.
You can now access all our opinion writers in the one location! Each week their latest column will be featured and you can find them all here.
Sterling Gold – Peter Sterling says Manly are the new ‘left-edge kings’ and he argues their ‘spine’ of Brett Stewart, Matt Ballin, Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran is fast becoming one of the best in the competition.
In Touch – Leila McKinnon says she loves the heart-racing, nerve-wrangling finish that the golden point game provides.
From the Mind of Middo – Warriors’ Military planning paying off - Few fans would comprehend the impact of the constant time zone changes that the team experiences.
Inside Word – Trent Barrett says the new look side is confident heading into Game II.
Coach’s Box – Graham Murray looks at NSW's Origin gamble.
Next Gen – Matt Russell looks at the rise of Will Hopoate from Toyota Cup to NSW centre.
On the Road – Steve Mascord writes about ankle sprains and golden games.
MATCH CENTRE – ROUND 14
Updated Team Lists - all the latest team news
Last time they played
THIS WEEK'S VIDEOS ON NRL.com
Bring on the Cowboys: Gorge Rose - Manly prop looking for a big clash despite a few players missing through Origin duties.
Cowboys launch Learn Earn Legend campaign - Find out everything about this great program.
Blues are going to be stronger: Lockyer - Queensland skipper says NSW have picked a strong side for game II.
Maroons fan day in Emerald - See all the action from the Maroons visit to Emerald.
Camp Maroon - Who has the best taste in music? Learn all about the Queensland side.
Uate ready for the battle - NSW winger says he was nervous waiting for the match review committee to hand down their verdict.
NSW signing session - Fans lined up from the early hours in the morning to meet their favourite players.
It’s good to be back – Hayne - The NSW X-factor talks about his return to the Origin arena after being left out of the series opener.
I’m still buzzing – Hopoate - He has played just a handful of NRL games, but the young Manly star is ready for his biggest challenge yet.
Luke Lewis proud to be back - Lewis has been plagued by injuries, but he is ready to continue the fight against the old enemy.
It’s a must win game: Gallen - The NSW Captain knows the stakes are high going into the clash at ANZ Stadium.
Coming up this weekend on NRL.com
Saturday / Sunday 3:00pm – 4:30pm: NRL Deluxe on League TV with Freddy Fittler and John Gibbs
Full Match replays or just watch the best bits with Game Analyser. (All matches available 24 hours after final siren)