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State of Origin: Why the Blues need to win game three

SET OF SIX

Winning feeling: Greg Bird and the Blues need to maintain their winning streak.

Winning feeling: Greg Bird and the Blues need to maintain their winning streak. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

1. Never get tired of winning, Blues

 We have seen firsthand just how far these elite Origin players have been prepared to push themselves in the name of securing victory for their respective States.

The brutality, injuries and heroics we have witnessed in the year’s series alone has taken this remarkable rivalry to a whole new level of physical output and emotional endurance.

This champion team has not given up its title lightly. The Queensland players have fought to the final seconds in both matches and given all they had.

That’s exactly what makes NSW’s winning performances so special. Remember, the Blues  only won the first two games by four points and two points.

Think of the pressure the NSW players had to endure; the effort, the courage, the desire NSW players have shown through the 160 minutes of this series so far. And they have won by less than a converted try on both occasions.

This means that one less effort, one lazy walk, one player not getting up when he was injured or not responding to the call when he was fatigued, could have resulted in a loss. Why give it up now?

After all that effort to be crowned champions, it would be a shame to hand it back to them tonight. Beat them again, and never get sick of winning. You owe this one to yourselves. 

2. Origin is a continuum, there is no finish line.

This State of Origin battle never ends. It will never be decided by just one game, or even one series victory.

In Game 3 of 2004, the victory by the Blues in that series decider, represented the first time in 25 years of Origin history that the Blues led the Maroons in games won and series won.

It was quite a special occasion. It also highlighted just how little there was between the two states over that period of time.

One state may dominate for a short period, but the other state would always come roaring back.

Overall, there have now been 101 Origin matches played, Queensland winning 53, NSW 46, with two games drawn.

At Suncorp Stadium, there have been 49 matches, Queensland winning 30, NSW 18, and one draw. Queensland have now won 18 series to New South Wales 13.

Queensland have scored a total of 1,649 points, from 286 tries, 254 goals and 10 field goals – to New South Wales’ 1,568 points from 267 tries, 249 goals and 13 field goals. So the away I see it, we are still seven matches, five series, 81 points, 19 tries, and five goals BEHIND the Maroons. We still have some work to do! 

 3. Mate versus mate

When Origin first started all those years ago, it was billed as mate versus mate and state versus state.

The idea of club teammates belting each other was first thought of as impossible, and the very reason why many felt this Origin concept was labeled a gimmick and doomed to failure.

In reality, it became one of the real attractions of this rivalry –  that club teammates could play so passionately for their state, ignoring their club allegiances.

It’s so nice to see that some things never change, with five NRL clubs providing both NSW players and Queenslanders who have to do battle with each other tonight.

The Melbourne Storm will provide Slater, Smith, Cronk and Chambers for the Maroons, up against sole Blue Ryan Hoffman. The Knights have Darius Boyd doing taking on club teammates Beau Scott and James McManus. For the Roosters, Aiden Guerra takes on Tupou and Cordner.

The Titans’ big boys Nate Myles and Dave Taylor lock horns with Blues tough guy Greg Bird. Finally, Cowboys mates Jonathan Thurston and James Tamou find themselves on opposite sides of the divide.

At the moment, the Blues boys have had the big smiles on the faces when they return back to club training. Let’s keep that going, lads. 

 4. Where to now for the Rabbitohs?

After 16 games, South Sydney have lost seven matches, five more than for the same period last season.

 They are the leading defensive team in the competition, conceding 15.19 points per game, but their attack is what must be giving coach Michael Maguire the most headaches.

 After 16  matches last season, Souths had scored 424 points, but this year, for the same period, they have scored 355, and in nine games this season they have failed to score more than 18 points, compared to just four times for the same period last season.

Against the Titans on Monday night, they had 42 sets (many incomplete, I grant you) with the ball, but came up with just one try from a kick.

With matches against Manly, Canterbury and the Roosters amongst their final eight games, the Rabbitohs urgently need to develop their tryscoring options, other than just relying on penalties and opposition errors.

 5. Don’t think so

We specialise in knee-jerk reactions in the game of rugby league.

Maybe because we need subjects to fill up the pages of our newspapers. Maybe just to fill the hours of television shows we spend discussing the game. Perhaps, as I’m sure some may claim, I’ve been guilty of such reactions at times in my media career.

However, we can all make a greater contribution if sometimes we sit back and reflect before declaring a major change is about to happen in our game.

The fine performance of Bulldogs giant Tony Williams in the halfback role last Friday night led to immediate claims from some that the days of the small playmaker maybe over and soon we will see giants like Williams filling all sorts of positions for all teams, from the halves to hooker and even full-back.

In over 100 years of the game, the relative sizes of our halves compared to our forwards has probably varied little.

One game in the halves, because his team was missing its top three  halves, is hardly going to persuade Des Hasler – or any other coach – to use Tony Williams, or a player of that mould, in a halves position whenever they have quality specialists halves available.

Williams did well in the circumstances, but I think the likes of Jonathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Daly Cherry-Evans can rest easy. Your careers, and those of your successors, are well and truly alive and kicking.

 6. Des Hasler is a master of his domain

The Bulldogs’ stunning victory over the Sea Eagles on Friday night showed yet again that coach Des Hasler is a master of his field. It was the kind of team and coaching performance that sets coaches apart.

The thing I like most about Des’ coaching is that he thinks outside the square. He is prepared to be innovative and different.

Without his Origin halves combination, and in fact eight first-grade players unavailable on the night, Hasler produced a gameplan based purely around the skills and temperament of those players he did have at his disposal.

Some weeks earlier, when the Bulldogs found themselves in a similar position, Hasler tried to manufacture halves to play a more traditional style of game. It didn’t work.

This time he ignored convention and filled his team with big, skillful men, an aggressive mentality and an attention to detail in defense. If I was handing out the man-of-the-match award for this game, my vote would’ve gone to the coach. 

 Phil Gould is the general manager of the Penrith Panthers

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NRL Season 2015

Round 1
Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6 vs SOU 36 Report Stats
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 42 vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 24 vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18 vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4 vs SYD 28 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 24 vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20 vs CBR 24 Report Stats
Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
STG 4 vs MEL 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBY 32 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
CRO 2 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 40 vs GCT Report Stats
MAN 24 vs MEL 22 Stats
NQL 14 vs NEW 16 Report Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 34 vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6 vs NZW 18 Report Stats
Mon, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST 22 vs STG 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN 12 vs CBY 16 Report Stats
BRI 44 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 29 vs PAR 16 Report Stats
CBR 20 vs STG 22 Report Stats
MEL 36 vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 20 vs WST 6 Report Stats
GCT 18 vs NEW 20 Report Stats
Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 20 vs PEN 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 29 vs SOU 16 Report Stats
WST 24 vs CBY 25 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 26 vs PEN 14 Report Stats
CRO 22 vs GCT 24 Report Stats
STG 12 vs MAN 4 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 16 vs BRI 24 Report Stats
SYD 34 vs CBR 6 Report Stats
Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL 18 vs MEL 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
CBY 17 vs SOU 18 Report Stats
GCT 16 vs BRI 26 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MAN 16 vs CBR 29 Report Stats
NEW vs STG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 12 vs CRO 20 Report Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 6 vs WST 22 Report Stats
MEL 30 vs NZW 14 Report Stats
PEN 10 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 22 vs SYD 18 Report Stats
CRO 22 vs NEW 6 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 16 vs GCT 38 Report Stats
NZW 32 vs WST 22 Report Stats
PEN 22 vs MAN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CBR 10 vs MEL 14 Stats
STG 31 vs CBY 6 Stats
Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU 12 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 28 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
GCT 32 vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28 vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17 vs SYD 16 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
WST 22 vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22 vs PAR 28 Report Stats
Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO 18 vs SOU 10 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY vs WST 19:45ANZ
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
NZW vs GCT 11:45MSS
NEW vs NQL 14:00HS
SYD vs STG 16:00AS
MEL vs MAN 18:15AAMI
BRI vs PAR 20:00SUN
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN vs CRO 14:00Pepper Stadium
SOU vs CBR 16:00Barlow Park
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs PEN 19:35SUN
SYD vs WST 19:35AS
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR vs GCT 15:00GIO Stadium
CRO vs NZW 17:30Remondis Stadium
NQL vs CBY 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN vs NEW 14:00BO
PAR vs MEL 16:00Pirtek Stadium
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU vs STG 19:00ANZ
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY vs SYD 19:35ANZ
NQL vs BRI 19:351300 Smiles Stadium
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR vs NZW 15:00Pirtek Stadium
GCT vs CRO 17:30Cbus Super Stadium
MEL vs SOU 19:30AAMI
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG vs CBR 14:00WIN
NEW vs WST 16:00HS
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN vs PEN 19:00BO
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU vs PAR 19:45ANZ
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
WST vs NQL 19:30CSS
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR vs CBY 16:00GIO Stadium
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW vs BRI 19:00HS
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN vs PAR 19:45Pepper Stadium
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT vs SOU 15:00Cbus Super Stadium
CBR vs BRI 17:30GIO Stadium
NQL vs MAN 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW vs NEW 14:00MSS
STG vs CRO 16:00Jubilee Oval
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs MEL 19:00AS
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MAN 19:35SUN
WST vs GCT 19:35VAS
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs CBR 15:00HS
SOU vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
PEN vs MEL 19:30Pepper Stadium
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO vs SYD 16:00Remondis Stadium
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY vs STG 16:00ANZ
PAR vs NQL 19:00Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST vs SOU 19:45ANZ
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW vs SYD 18:00MSS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT vs CBY 16:00Cbus Super Stadium
Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs PAR 19:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN vs WST 19:45BO
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NQL 15:00GIO Stadium
GCT vs NZW 17:30Cbus Super Stadium
CBY vs PEN 19:30ANZ
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs CRO 14:00HS
MEL vs BRI 16:00AAMI
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG vs SYD 19:00AS
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs NEW 19:35SUN
SOU vs MAN 19:35ANZ
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW vs CBR 15:00MSS
NQL vs CRO 17:301300 Smiles Stadium
PAR vs STG 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs GCT 14:00AS
WST vs PEN 16:00VAS
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY vs MEL 19:00Belmore Sports Ground
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs SOU 19:45Pepper Stadium
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG vs NQL 19:30WIN
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs CRO 16:00BO
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST vs PAR 19:00ANZ
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NEW 19:45GIO Stadium
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs SYD 17:30Pepper Stadium
CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs MEL 14:00MSS
CRO vs STG 16:00Remondis Stadium
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus Super Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CBY 19:35ANZ
MEL vs PEN 19:35AAMI
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs CRO 15:00GIO Stadium
NEW vs GCT 17:30HS
STG vs SOU 19:30SCG
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NZW 14:00AS
BRI vs WST 16:00SUN
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs NQL 19:00BO
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI vs GCT 19:35SUN
WST vs SYD 19:35ANZ
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs MAN 15:00MSS
SOU vs NEW 17:30ANZ
MEL vs STG 19:30AAMI
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs CBR 14:00Pepper Stadium
CBY vs CRO 16:00Belmore Sports Ground
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs PAR 19:001300 Smiles Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Thu, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs CRO 22:00MSS
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs CBR 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
SOU vs PEN 00:00ANZ
SYD vs CBY 00:00AS
MAN vs BRI 00:00To Be Confirmed
WST vs MEL 00:00VAS
GCT vs PAR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Thu, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs STG 22:00MSS
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
NEW vs SYD 00:00HS
CBR vs WST 00:00GIO Stadium
MAN vs SOU 00:00BO
CRO vs NQL 00:00Remondis Stadium
MEL vs GCT 00:00AAMI
PAR vs PEN 00:30TIO
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STG 00:00SUN
CBY vs GCT 00:00To Be Confirmed
NQL vs SOU 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
PEN vs NZW 00:00Pepper Stadium
CBR vs MAN 00:00GIO Stadium
SYD vs PAR 00:00AS
CRO vs MEL 00:00Remondis Stadium
WST vs NEW 00:00CSS
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Wed, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs NQL 22:00MSS
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG vs PEN 00:00WIN
SOU vs CBY 00:00ANZ
SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
MAN vs PAR 00:00BO
CRO vs WST 00:00Remondis Stadium
MEL vs NEW 00:00AAMI
GCT vs CBR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CRO 00:00Pirtek Stadium
NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
SOU vs BRI 00:00AS
CBR vs PEN 00:00GIO Stadium
MAN vs SYD 00:00BO
MEL vs NQL 00:00AAMI
WST vs NZW 00:00CSS
GCT vs STG 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MEL 00:00SUN
CBY vs NZW 00:00ANZ
NQL vs GCT 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
STG vs WST 00:00ANZ
PAR vs CBR 00:00Pirtek Stadium
PEN vs NEW 00:00Pepper Stadium
SYD vs SOU 00:00AS
CRO vs MAN 00:00Remondis Stadium
View All Fixtures
NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D Pts
Melbourne Storm 7 5 2 0 10
St George-Illawarra Dragons 7 5 2 0 10
Brisbane Broncos 7 5 2 0 10
South Sydney Rabbitohs 7 4 3 0 8
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 7 4 3 0 8
North Queensland Cowboys 7 4 3 0 8
Newcastle Knights 7 4 3 0 8
Sydney Roosters 7 3 4 0 6
View all
 
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