It is a shame the 2011 Harvey Norman State of Origin Series had to end the way it did for the Blues. The players were shattered.
After the way they played in Games One and Two, it would have been more fitting to have been more of a contest in Game Three.
We had a yarn after the game and while they were bitterly disappointed with the final result and the way they played in the last game, everyone was happy with the progress we made with changing the attitude and culture in the Blues.
We know how to beat Queensland … we just have to get it right on the night. Last night wasn’t that night. We just have to learn from that and stick together.
We made too many mistakes. The first half was a carbon copy of Game One, but 24 points was too much to give away.
Queensland had a lot of football in the first half and what they did with it was very good – 68% possession for 24 points. The solution is simple … possession!
They have too many good players to give them that much ball – and they made us pay for it.
Having said that, at 24-10 at half-time we felt we were in with a chance, but we knew we needed to be the first to score in the second half. It didn’t matter if it took 20 minutes, it just had to be us first.
And we had a 10-minute period after half-time where they invited us back in to the game. We were just a bit disjointed and couldn’t capitalise on it. We made too many errors.
But there were a lot of positives from the 2011 series on and off the field. We didn’t get the result we wanted, but what we created off the field was very good: the excitement the whole series created, largely by Ricky Stuart, and backed up by what the players did in Games One and Two, with two really good games. There were three sell-out crowds and great TV ratings.
We have to keep it all going and stick with a similar squad. We can’t throw it out even though we didn’t get the result we wanted. We’re on the right track.
And as far as out football goes, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel; we just have to hold the ball!
We gave Queensland a lot of opportunity and they capitalised on it. They did everything right. They have the players who know how to close the game out.
It was a fitting farewell for retiring Queensland captain Darren Lockyer. I went to the Maroons sheds after to congratulate him. He just takes everything in his stride; a great player and terrific bloke.
For me, one year on from retiring from Origin football, I really enjoyed being involved this year as assistant coach. I certainly don’t take the opportunity for granted.
It was hard at times watching; there’s only so much you can do for them. It’s really not about coaching them as they are all good players; it’s about getting them to play for each other.
I learnt a lot watching Ricky and the other coaching staff, Matt Parish and Jim Dymock. Coaching rep footy and club football is very different and I am certainly not interested in an NRL coaching role at this time in my life, with a young family.
It’s a massive commitment, not to mention all the media scrutiny and the week to week pressures.
I look forward to seeing the 2012 Blues continuing to build on what we have achieved in this incredible Origin series this year.