In the famous words of Ricky Bobby, the last thing I’m expecting Laurie Daley to say as his team struts out onto Suncorp Stadium tonight is something like “Help me Jesus, help Allah, Help me Jewish guy, help me Tom Cruise…help me Oprah Winfrey!”. Well… maybe not in those exact words, but if he has any religious bones in his body, I’m sure the words of Ricky Bobby may yet ring true.
As for the game? Here’s how I see it played…
The first 10 minutes will be the usual sorting out period where both teams will try and create fatigue for the opposition. I can’t see QLD getting off to the start they did last year. From then onwards, it’s game on! If I’m Laurie Daley, I’m telling the boys to unsettle the QLD defence by shifting early ie trust your hands by spreading the ball wide early and mitigating their compressed defence. No doubt our (NSW) strength is in the forwards but, if we do what we did in game 1, QLD will just tackle and wrestle in numbers. THEY DON’T MISS TACKLES!. The best way to upset a structured defence is to do the unexpected ie shift early or kick and chase on early tackles… turn them around. If I’m Laurie, I’m also telling them to PLAY SOME FOOTY! For crying out loud, these guys (the NSW players) are footballers. So, let them play. Inside passes, switching the point of the attack, run-arounds, offloads, chip kicks, cut out passes, running on the last, dummy passes, fend…that’s all they’ve ever known since they were 5 year olds, so why coach the footy out of them?
Yes, there will be mistakes but guess what? We lose this one, then it’s game over. Seyonara. Adios. “If you aint first, your last!”. For goodness sake, we have the meanest, ugliest, roughest and toughest forwards going around but they played like kittens in game 1. I’d be telling Gallen, Bird, Klemmer etc to get under their noses and take the rule book to the absolute limit. I don’t care what they do, as long as it P#sses them off. Unsettles them. Throws them off their comfort zone.
Can we do it? [Deeeep sigh…] I keep looking at the origin match experience of QLD’s spine Boyd-Thurston-Cronk-Smith (total 112 games) vs our spine total of just 20 games and wonder how the hec we can do it. They are masters of anticipating what the opposition will do. Even moreso, when it comes to pressure situations, the great ones tend to make all the right decisions. Sadly, the great ones are wearing maroon jerseys. Still. It’s 80 minutes and anything can happen. I just hope that Laurie, somehow, finds solace through divine intervention and, just like Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights, he finds his way out of a burning wreck.
My Heart – NSW by 4
My Head – QLD by 16
First try – Oates for QLD or Jennings for NSW
Man of the Match – Parker if it’s QLD or Moylan if it’s NSW