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Trent Hodkinson's terrific try up there with John Aloisi's goal at the field of dreams

Date

Brad Walter

Trent Hodkinson celebrates the only try of the second State of Origin match.

Trent Hodkinson celebrates the only try of the second State of Origin match. Photo: Anthony Johnson

It’s over. NSW’s 6-4 victory in Origin II was far from pretty but Trent Hodkinson’s winning try is set to be remembered alongside John Aloisi’s goal against Uruguay as the greatest post-Olympic moment at ANZ Stadium.

After eight years of Queensland domination, NSW are finally State of Origin champions again and the players, the 83,421 crowd at the ground and the millions of Blues supporters watching on television couldn’t care less how they managed it.

For 70 minutes, it appeared as if the match would be the first try-less Origin since a Wayne Bartrim-penalty goal gave the Maroons a 2-0 victory in 1995 but Hodkinson’s show and go to beat Ben Te'o and score ended a drought for NSW that extends back to their last series win in 2005.

Blues superstar Jarryd Hayne demonstrated what it meant to the players as he raced over the army of Blues supporters sitting at the northern end at full-time and then broke into tears while being interviewed on the field. ‘‘Its been a long time, a far too long time but we fought hard,’’ Hayne said. ‘‘We have just been through so much these years and we have got so close a few times. That is what Origin is about.’’

It was clear from the way the game was played that both teams believed this was the series decider – even though there is a third match at Suncorp Stadium on July9. With so much at stake, the players adopted a conservative approach that focused on minimising opportunities for the opposition by maintaining possession in attack and slowing the play the ball in defence.

NSW completed 15 of their 20 first half sets, while the Maroons made just one error in the opening 40 minutes – a sloppy play the ball by centre Justin Hodges – but conceded six penalties to three against NSW.

Most of the 14 penalties during the match were for niggling tactics and NSW five-eighth Josh Reynolds, second-rower Anthony Watmough and Maroons playmaker Johnathan Thurston were placed on report as both teams refused to give an inch.

Aware that Queensland playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans had gone into the game carrying a knee injury that restricted him to just one full training session with the team, NSW hooker Robbie Farah was assigned the task of testing him out after every kick.

Maroons five-eighth Thurston was also targetted by NSW second-rower Beau Scott and five-eighth Josh Reynolds, while Blues skipper Paul Gallen reminded Billy Slater of the shoulder injury he suffered in Origin I when he smashed him with a swinging arm in the early exchanges.

But the concern about committing a mistake that could cost the game detracted from the standard of the match and if Origin I was one of the best Origin games, this was one of the worst.

Sure there was desperation shown by Jarryd Hayne to knock the ball out of Sam Thaiday’s hands as he crossed for what looked certain to be a try and Daniel Tupou stopped Brent Tate just short of the tryline, but the Blues did not make a single line break and only offloaded on three occasions.

Since the Blues last won an Origin series, Australia’s domination of international rugby league has ended and resumed at last year’s World Cup, Melbourne have won premierships, been stripped of them for salary cap cheating and won another legitimately and Sonny Bill Williams has walked out on the NRL, returned and is poised to leave again.

Off the field, News Limited has relinquished control of the game to the Australian Rugby League Commission, Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court have taken a majority stake in South Sydney, Nathan Tinkler has bought and lost the Newcastle Knights and the Gold Coast Titans have been admitted to the NRL premiership.

Elsewhere, the smart phone has been invented, fans were able to tweet about the Blues victory for the first time. And the Socceroos have played in three World Cups.

10 comments so far

  • Rubbish - Aloisi's goal had the whole nation on side after nearly 30 years. Hodko's try had maybe half a million cheering and the result will mean nothing come next year, Save the hyperbole.

    Commenter
    Matt G
    Location
    Crookwell
    Date and time
    June 19, 2014, 1:34AM
    • Sorry, but as an analogy that has got to be a massive stretch! Last night was just Origin, a battle between two lots of boofheads north and south of a border - entertaining, but hardly equatable to the Olympics!

      Commenter
      rob1966
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 19, 2014, 6:37AM
      • Hardly likely to stick in the national memory like Aloisi's goal. League matters to only 2 states while football has greater appeal nationwide. Additionally what was at stake as a result of the try pales into insignificance when compared to attending the World Cup. I agree it was a great moment for NSW league fans but it will soon fade from the memory of most. Perhaps a little overuse of exaggeration?

        Commenter
        doubtful
        Date and time
        June 19, 2014, 7:12AM
        • Your kidding right! Also, the NSW players post game celebration was embarrassing. Seriously, grow up. It's a game of football lads. Crying & hugging. Please.

          Commenter
          Shane
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          June 19, 2014, 8:53AM
          • Stirling Mortlocks intercept try and the Wallabies tenacious defence against a red hot All Black side during the 2003 RWC trumps this for mind. Pretty average game overall lastnight.

            Commenter
            Flowcoat
            Date and time
            June 19, 2014, 10:13AM
            • You have to be having a laugh, comparing that try, to John Aloisi's goal to qualify for the World Cup!!!!!

              Commenter
              Faker
              Location
              Blacktown
              Date and time
              June 19, 2014, 10:34AM
              • Er, no. Aloisi's goal was 32 years of pent-up joy for a sport that matters to hundreds of millions of people. Who will remember, two years from now, who scored a try last night in a game that three nations on earth take seriously? Nobody

                Commenter
                Jesterhat
                Date and time
                June 19, 2014, 11:54AM
                • I hate to be cynical, but there have been so many highlights at that field, that I dont think this one will be remembered as the greatest ever. Examples (and i know im forgetting a lot) of others include:

                  1. Benjis flick pass
                  2. Nathan Blacklocks try (and flip) for the dragons in the 99 Grand Final
                  3. Scott Sattlers try saving tackle on Todd Byrne against the Roosters in the 2003 Grand Final

                  There are so many better than the ones I have mentioned, im sure. Can anyone add more to the list?

                  Commenter
                  Fridge
                  Location
                  Sydney
                  Date and time
                  June 19, 2014, 12:38PM
                  • Ahh no.

                    One was a moment of national significance that sent Australia to the World Cup which is a truly global event watched by billions, and the other was game of Rugby League between two states of Australia playing a game in which there are only 3 credible international teams

                    Commenter
                    Rooboy
                    Date and time
                    June 19, 2014, 12:58PM
                    • mmmmm.... probably not the best comparison. Ones a game that takes skill and played all over the world, and the others an overhyped hour and twenty minutes between 2 states in a small country

                      Commenter
                      Drugby Leaguie
                      Date and time
                      June 19, 2014, 5:43PM

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