Blow it up and start again

in anger.

The writing was on the wall after NSW’s first offensive possessions. The Mighty Maroons locked out Woods and Fifita, slowed down the ruck, and made Pearce look like an amateur footballer (the jury is still out on that).

It is time for the executives of NSWRL to scrap the whole team, Laurie Daley included. There are players in the team who are part of the losing virus of the last decade – Hayne and Morris – and there are players who are quickly being infected with that same losing mentality. Hayne continues to underwhelm and is seen whinging to the referees more than making productive contributions to his team’s performance.

There are players who should not be picked and should not have been picked in recent years – Trent Merrin, Mitchell Pearce, Blake Ferguson and Robbie Farah. A bunch of has-beens and a bunch of had-so-much potential. The contributions by Pearce and Farah to NSW during their Origin careers has been, well, also underwhelming. Without failure, however, they continue to be picked. One must spit our their tea when Robbie holds a presser to announce his intentions to be picked for Origin.

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NSW needs to build around the future. In the same we Australian cricket rebuilt after the days of Warne, McGrath, Gilly, Punter and the Waughs, NSW needs to clean the canvas and build around its future stars – James Tedesco and Josh Dugan. Give James Maloney and Tedesco a few years together and you’ll have the same lethal combination we say between Cronk and Slater on the 2017 decider.

And Boyd Cordner – questions need to be raised why the captain’s armband was given to him and even more questions need to be raised over the animosity caused by the media circus when Boyd hurt his leg. Over-running the ball and never a leader on the field the fans just don’t see him as an impact player. An analogy run is making Adam Zampa the captain of the Aussie cricket team or J.R. Smith the leader of Cleveland. These types of athletes are not leaders and should not be given that responsibility. Take Cam Smith off the field for Queensland and you feel his absence. Not so much for Boyd Cordner – leave him on the bench.

NSW must address this disease. Away with Daley. Away with Hayne. Away with Pearce. Away with the politics. NSW and its fan cannot endure another decade of Queensland dominance.

 

 

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Fifita finally delivers.

I have grown so out of love with rugby league over the last 5 years. The awful refereeing. The ridiculous off-field player behaviour. The bloody ordinary commentary.

But once a fan of State of Origin then always a fan. I have never failed to watch an Origin game since I can remember. In fact, I still remember walking out of a finance exam at university one Wednesday night to pop into a pub only to witness NSW get thumped by 30+.

And that type of game was a repeat over and over again. For 8 years. Until 2014 – yep we’ve broken the curse. And then surprise, Queensland take another two in a row. And who could have guessed otherwise? Thurston. Slater. Inglis. Smith. Cronk. Boyd. ¬†With an ordinary supporting cast you would still back this six to win at least 2 of 3. Meanwhile NSW couldn’t figure out whether they were coming or going. Bad and inconsistent selections have plagued NSW for 10 years – and I can’t help myself but players like Robbie Farah should never have had the right to don a Blues jersey, great club player but not an Origin star. It was laughable for him to make himself available for selection this year.

Origin became boring and predictable. Like the Washington Wizards in the NBA, not even a few full strength schooners helped the embarrassment of being a New South Welshman during the 6 week Origin period.

But alas, 2017 is the year we as New South Welshmen celebrate. Who cares about the above six. Their days are far gone. Enter Fifita, Hayne, Tedesco, Dugan. What a performance by these guys last Wednesday. Watching the game was refreshing. It was as if the Queenslanders did what NSW has been doing for the last decade. Except they weren’t bad – they were just outplayed by a much better team.

I have disliked Fifita and Hayne for years. They are both ordinary players in any sense of the word during the regular season. But boy does Hayne have a sense of occasion. And Fifita finally presented his talent and gave a damn about the outcome. I have also been critical of Tedesco in the past but he also showed his talent.

NSW were quicker, tougher and more confident. I don’t think the return of Thurston, Slater or Inglis will reel back this series for Queensland as long as NSW bring their game to ANZ in Game 2.

Queensland – out-muscled, outplayed. outclassed. 2014 was a fluke but this might become cliche over the next 10 years.