Message to Laurie Daley: Loz, PLEASE don’t allow the boys to fall for the Queensland version of Three Card Monte! For those of you unaware of the street hustle trick, click onto this link for a quick demo .
That’s right! when all else fails, why not retreat to the very strategy that has served them so well for more than three decades? Pull the wool over everyone’s eyes! They have selected a 22 man squad giving the impression they’re a group of walking wounded, then they’ve fooled everyone into believing they are actually the underdogs despite winning the last eight series. All the while, behind closed doors, they will be cultivating that culture of hatred and hysteria. There is no doubt they’ll be using headlines like “Jonathon Turnstile” and “Tate the Sook” to fuel their siege mentality. “Those arrogant NSW players!” will be a catch phrase. “Time to shut those b#$@ards up!”. They will remind themselves they are on the verge of greatness. Right up there with the 11 straight grand finals by the great St George team of the sixties. They’ve worked damned hard to win eight straight and they’re not about to relinquish that record meekly. Champions never do. It won’t matter who takes the field. It won’t matter whether Daley Cherry-Evans plays or not. They’ll be whipped into a frenzy by the time they step onto the field. And we’ll be lured into a false sense of security…
On the flip side, The Blues will need to get Origin 1 well and truly out of their mind. They’ll need to be better. Smarter. Complacency will kill them. Indecision will kill them. If they play conservatively, that will kill them. They’ll need to remind each other of the pain of the past eight years. They’ll need to remind themsleves that “Enough is enough!”. They’ll need to ask questions like – Do we want to play a decider in Queensland or do we want to celebrate victory in front of our home crowd of over 80,000?
How will the game be played? I can’t see it being as physical as the first encounter. Surely not? They’d all be carried away in emergency units if it were! This one will be a little more open. Queensland will come to play some footy. NSW will expect Qld to attack their right edge with new recruits Josh Dugan and Will Hopoate the obvious targets. You see, that’s where the Three Card Monte also comes into play. Qld will set play up for their left side of Thurston-Inglis-Boyd, but instead, Cam Smith will go towards Thaiday-Hodges-Tate. “Now you see it. Now you don’t!”. Cam Smith might even play first receiver. Regardless, Qld will try and isolate the NSW halves of Hodkinson and Reynolds. Qld tried to go around NSW in game 1 without any success, given NSW’s superior pace out wide. This time, they will go through and play more direct. If DCE plays, he and Thurston also like to go “behind” the NSW fast defence by putting the grubber kick behind them. Expect a lot of inside balls when the forwards start to tire. Jarryd Hayne will not be given the same latitude as in game 1. They will kick away from him and provide plenty of numbers to limit his attacking space.
FOR THE PUNTERS…
Will the old-timers show the typical Qld pride and take this to a decider or will the Blues herald the “death of origin as we know it”? Will Twitter experience it’s first ever NSW victory tweet? I believe either Qld will win a close game or NSW will win comfortably. Which one? Qld will be playing this one to the very death. Champions never die! They’re far too proud not to, at least, take it to a decider. I’m tipping Qld by no more than 8.
Man of the Match: Jonathon Turnstile is a special!
First try scorer: toss up between Thaiday and Tate.
Either way, all viewing records will be broken. You can bet on that one!