Why these Maroons can bounce back
Six Again: Andrew Voss on the Blues' Origin victory, Hodkinson's goalkicking, Matt Bowen's latest supertry and more.
1) Is this the start of a Blues dynasty?
I don't think so.
From what I have seen, there are still a few good years to come for this group of Queensland players, and it would come as no surprise if they bounce back to win not only Game Three of this year's series, but reclaim the Origin title in 2015.
There is very little between the teams and that has even been the case through many of the Maroon's eight straight years of triumph.
But losing margins of four and two points so far in 2014 may as well have been 40 and 20! It matters not in the history book, as the series has been decided and after plenty of 'painful' years New South Wales has every right to bask in the glory of victory.
2) What was the Blues' greatest feat in Game Two?
Without a doubt, keeping Queensland tryless.
Admittedly New South Wales themselves took 71 minutes to cross the line, but to limit a Maroons side that includes the likes of attacking superstars Greg Inglis, Johnathon Thurston, Billy Slater, Justin Hodges, Darius Boyd and Daly Cherry-Evans to zero in the try tally column was an enormous achievement.
Let me put that defensive effort in context historically: it's only the third time in the last 20 years a Queensland team has failed to score a try in an Origin game.
Interestingly on the two previous occasions, the Maroons still managed to win. In Game One, 1995, a Wayne Bartrim goal gave the Queenslanders a 2-nil victory, and Mat Rogers booted all the points in a 9-8 win in Game One of the 1999 series.
3) Where does Trent Hodkinson rank among the great goalkickers?
Trent is very good. Significantly, Hodkinson works as hard on his goalkicking as any player in the NRL.
Given the moment, and eight previous years of Origin defeat, his conversion from 15 metres to the side of the posts to put the Blues in front was a colossal kick.
Hodkinson is one of a number of kickers in the competition who have regular training sessions with one of the all time greats in Daryl Halligan, my co-commentator at Sky Sport New Zealand.
Halligan is a huge admirer of Hodkinson's work ethic and believes the Bulldogs playmaker is getting even better as a goalkicker.
But Daryl makes the salient point that for every single successful shot we see Trent land in a season, he has had 35 to 40 kicks in practice.
I can tell you there was no prouder man than Daryl (2034 career points) to see Hodkinson's pressure kick sail over on Wednesday night.
4) Can Parramatta maintain their charge?
I don't see why not.
There are so many remarkable statistics in their turnaround this season, including having already won eight games as compared to just five in all of 2013.
But how about this one. In 24 games last season, the Eels managed to score just 326 points – that's an average of an unflattering 14 points per game.
After 13 games this year, Parramatta has now posted 291 points at an average of over 22.
Should they rack up a big score against Melbourne at AAMI Park on Sunday, (more than 35), they will pass their total from last year with 10 matches still to play!
Enjoy the ride Eels fans!
5) Can our players get any bigger?
It would seem so, yes.
I was in commentary for Fox Sports last Saturday night when 18-year-old Willis Meehan made his NRL debut off the bench for the Roosters against Newcastle.
Willis is not only a good league talent, but a very good young heavyweight boxer with ambitions of making the Olympics in Rio in 2016.
The former Australian schoolboys winger is listed at 196cm tall and 115 kilos. My spies at the Roosters tell me he is closer to 129 kgs!
Look out Dogzilla Kasiano. Forget Gus Gould's claim Jamal Idris is the biggest human ever. There is a new contender in town!
6) How is Matty Bowen travelling in Super League?
The fans in Wigan love him!
And that admiration is even more so after the Bowen Arrow scored an extraordinary try last weekend against Castleford.
You would be aware I have always been a huge fan of this very special talent. Sure, he might not be the player he once was, but he is still a star with freakish ability.
Confronted with two attackers coming at him as the last line of defence, Bowen not only saved a certain Castleford try, but then raced 80 metres to score. It was absolutely sensational. Check it out at the Super League website.
Enjoy your footy this weekend folks. I'm off to Mount Smart Stadium to call Saturday night's game between the Warriors and the Broncos.