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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009 State of Origin Review

This year State of Origin has ended with Queensland created a history which was winning the trophy 4 years in a row. It showed that Queensland outplayed New South Wales in all sorts. New South Wales however, had claimed their pride with the victory at Suncorp Stadium to avoid the whitewash. Now here's some of my sharing in this State of Origin Series:

Harder, stronger, harder

It always be. It is all about State of Origin, and this is why this is one of the most fierce rivalry in the world. All of the best players in the league are all in this high stage of the game. So it is still not enough to play hard, strong, and good. Instead, they have to be harder, stronger, and better in order to become the hardest, the strongest, and the best. Queensland backline did so well in this Origin series to lead them to achieve history. At the same time, New South Wales forward line kept tiring the opposition so they had so many chances to score, even though they failed to convert.

80 minutes good football

There is not any space to have a break, as when a team slow down a little, they will get caught. Queensland nearly get caught in the final 20 minutes in Game 1 and Game 2 respectively, but New South Wales poor finishing and the cheap errors gave Queensland a chance to win the game. On the other hand, New South Wales always got caught in the first 20 minutes and led them to chase the game in most of the game. This was a huge pressure for New South Wales in the first 2 games in the Series as Queensland were protecting the lead very well. New South Wales had done it in Game 3, as they did not give any chance for Queensland to bounce back and led them to have a great win. So a winning team should play well in all 80 minutes.

Early lead, final say

It was very obvious in all these 3 games. Queensland made and extended the lead in the first 25 minutes in Game 1 and Game 2 so that they could hold on and win the game. Especially in Game 2, Queensland had 3 tries in a short period of time and led New South Wales hard to bounce back to the game, even it was very close. Close but not enough, this is what final say means. Queensland always had a final say in the dying minutes. In Game 1, Kurt Gidley made an important knock on error and handed the game to Queensland. Then in Game 2, New South Wales failed to finish the play in the final minutes and led Queensland had a chance to take a breathe and then scored a try to seal the Series. If Queensland failed to extend the lead in first 25 minutes like Game 3, New South Wales actually had the upper hand to win the game, or even took back the Series.

Creativity, skills, and pace

This is how both teams had tries. Forward rushing is not so useful in this year State of Origin. Instead, more skills, pace, and creativity are needed to score. Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Michael Jennings, and Jarryd Hayne are the good examples from Queensland and New South Wales. Their footwork and pace were really threatening to the opposition and created lots of line breaks in these 3 games. Jonathan Thurston and Trent Barrett were the focus on the creative plays. All the creative plays from each side were come from them. Their vision and skills did help the team to create a hole for the other teammates to go through and break the line. I believe more of these are needed in the upcoming Origin.

Now here is some forecast from each side:

What's next Queensland: Seems Darren Lockyer is fading out his role in representative football. Rumours said Brisbane Broncos wanted him to step down the representative football in order to offer him a 2-year contract. Even Lockyer said he did not concern about this so far, I believe he may step down as he fitness started not to supporting this tight schedule. So who will be new five-eigth? It is what Mal Meninga needs to think about. On the other hand, in Game 3 it showed the bench power of the side was not good enough, as Michael Crocker failed to impress at all, and the absence of Petero Civoniceva did affect the forward line. I believe Queensland needs to find a better forward players if they want to defend their title and continue the great history.

What's next New South Wales: Change, lots of changes. It seems players are all outplayed in the first 2 games in the Series. The halves combination was so unstable and every combination seems not the best to cope with Queensland strong halves. Peter Wallace and Terry Campese are the future but they are not experienced enough. Jamie Soward on the other hand is a good choice, but the problem is same with the previous. There will be lots of changes in the squad but I believe Jarryd Hayne will be the centre of the change. He did better and better since his debut in 2006 and he is now the most important player in New South Wales. So who and how can he be helped? This is one of the biggest question next year.

State of Origin is always the best rugby league rivalry in the world. The players gave more than they had in order to acheive the best. So this is why there are so many people in Australia love this game. Will New South Wales re-claim the title? Or Queensland will create the better record, which is 5 title winnings in a row? We will find out next year.

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