Tell me it’s not true! This is a bad dream, right? It didn’t just happen….again? We were one fingernail away from victory yet there are now eight year old NSW children that haven’t experienced the feeling of winning an origin game. Not that it matters to this champion Queensland side. They know how to win. We don’t. My son summed it up beautifully when he said “dad, it’s all mental now….it’s all in their heads”. He’s right you know. NSW had the Maroons on the ropes on several occasions but just couldn’t deliver the knockout blow. The game was there to be taken, but no one dared to reach out and grab it. Why? In as much as winning is a habit, so too is losing. You forget the processes required to execute a win. Your thought process becomes blurred, you start second guessing yourself, you panic and make poor decisions. For example there was one occasion when Mitchell Pearce was attacking Queensland’s line with various options. He could’ve passed the ball out to his backs or simply kick for a repeat set. Instead, he went too far with the ball and dropped it impotently at his feet. That was typical of our night.
State of Origin has always been decided on the crucial moments. Had Darius Boyd not laid a fingernail on the ball in the in goal line, we may be talking about Josh Morris scoring a decisive try. It’s a game of millimeters. If only Brad Haddin didn’t feather the ball for a caught behind, Australia may have won the first Ashes test. If only Josh Dugan caught the beautifully popped up ball from Andrew Fifita, if only Farah didn’t throw a shocking pass from dummy half when we were attacking their line on the third tackle, if only Farah’s kicking options were better. If only Lewis wasn’t injured. If only that idiot streaker didn’t come on the field! What’s going on there? Like we don’t have enough drama?
I thought Mitchell Pearce was poor. He tried hard but the game was there for a half back to take it by the scruff of the neck, but once again Pearce was found wanting. Surely, after 3 straight series, it must now be time for a change. Adam Reynolds (all things equal) must have first crack at the number 7 jersey next year. Pearce is simply not mentally strong enough in the pressure cooker furnace that is State of Origin. This is not NRL. If you’re not mentally tough you WILL be found out. Robbie Farah was too “rocks and diamonds” when we needed a steady hand. Josh Dugan just wouldn’t pass that ball when we clearly had the overlap. On the positive side, I thought Fifita and Anthony Watmough were outstanding. They single handedly brought us back into the game when we were struggling in the first half. Trent Merrin was terrific and deserved the try.
At the end of the day, Queensland are clearly a better team. There is no comparison between the respective “spines”. Slater-Thurston-Cronk-Smith Vs Dugan-Maloney-Pearce-Farah. Enough said.
We can only hope there are 9 year olds that may yet experience a NSW victory. We live in hope….