Desire more important than talent in Origin
Next time I walk into the kitchen late at night and turn on the light, I’ll have a little more insight into how the cockroach scurrying under the skirting board feels.
This week has been an education in what it’s like to be a Blues supporter and I can’t say I like it.
First of all there’s all this infernal talk about team selection. It’s a desperate scrabbling similar to that made by a six-legged invertebrate finding its way through the crack of a wall. It’s not something we generally fret about north of the Tweed so as a Maroons supporter I am serenely ignoring it all.
Queensland has such an incredible depth of talent that any young players given the chance to show what they’ve got in the Origin 2012 decider will have the skills and the hunger needed to take that opportunity and become a true Maroon.
When your potential back up plan involves names such as Matt Bowen, Ben Barba, Corey Parker, Ben Te’o, and Dane Nielsen you are in great shape.
Yes, New South Wales deserve full credit for their win in game two. Ricky Stuart’s taken a rag-tag bunch of misfits, many of whom either underperform personally on a weekly basis or are struggling in underperforming teams, and he’s transformed them into a hungry beast with 26 legs.
News Limited rugby league writer Paul Crawley has written that the Blues team featuring Andrew Johns in 2005 will inspire this determined young side to a 2012 series win.
Johns was instrumental in two thumping wins in games two and three that year, and said this week:
"We felt invincible ... we knew we were going to win…It was a pretty red-hot team."
He could be right, but there’s one fundamental difference. This year Joey will be performing on the sideline not on the field. And as good as Paul Gallen and Greg Bird and their teammates have shown themselves to be, they are not history-making players.
Is there a single player in the Blues you would put down as a possible future immortal? Unlikely.
But there is one vital component needed for Origin glory that the Blues had a couple of weeks ago at ANZ Stadium and the Maroons didn’t - that’s a desperate hunger to win.
Michael Jennings should never have been able to prevent Queensland from scoring that vital try in the 71st minute of the game.
It’s just one example of New South Wales’ incredible focus on winning at all costs on that wet night.
Brent Tate, to his credit, said yes he should have got it down:
"I should've scored it. I had the ball in my hands and it would've evened up (the scores)…NSW were just better than us."
So now I’ve read all the analysis of team selection, criticised my mighty Maroons, and praised the Blues. But before I shake off my cockroachy mood – or perhaps give myself a spray with Mortein - and book my flight to Brisbane for next Wednesday, here’s one more for you: I agree with Greg Bird. Heaven help me.
Bird was quoted in the Brisbane times as saying, “It's never the best team that wins it, it's always the team that wants it the most, and wants to go out and bleeds for it. I think that's what State of Origin's been built on.”
Where we disagree is that I think Queensland wants this series more, we are fresh out of a soggy injury-ridden loss in front of thousands of blue-wigged jeering fans. That pain and humiliation hurts, and Queenslanders don’t sit around sulking and pointing fingers and talking endlessly about why, we head to Suncorp Stadium, fans and players alike, and let our passion do the talking.
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