Saturday 7 July 2012

State of Origin 2012: NSW close but Queensland get 7th cigar | 2012 Origin Ratings

QLD 21 def. NSW 20 in Game 3
By W D Nicolson, July 7, 2012

NSW 20-21 QLD
(D Boyd, J Thurston, J Hodges Tries; J Thurston 4/5 Goals, C Cronk 1 Field Goal)
(B Morris, B Stewart, J Morris Tries; T Carney 4/4 Goals)
@ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, July 4, 2012
QLD retain Series 2-1.
Official Man of the Match: Johnathan Thurston (QLD)
Official Man of the Series: Nate Myles (QLD)
So it's Queensland's for at least one more year...

It's being the State of Origin Shield and one more year being seven in a row.

Just typing that out is painful, so you can imagine how most genuine New South Welsh Men and Women felt shortly around 10pm on Wednesday evening.

Shattered is probably the most apt description.

In fact shortly after letting some friends out of my building after fulltime, I was riding back up in the lift and seriously considered spending the night in the elevator as it seemed like a nice place to escape the reality of the following Origin Series results:

and then this year...

At what point - people say - do we just give up, admit Queensland are the superior state and go back to what really matters... following Parramatta.

Well if you believe that and call yourself a real footy fan then you need more than just your head read.

As much as 'regular people' want to tell you after the game that 'it's just a football match' and 'don't worry there's always next year' - it seems to me that they have missed the point of what Origin has become.

As a colleague said on Friday - two days after the result - he was just as gutted and was adamant that Origin transcends beyond just a football match.

And he's spot on.

Yes there are certainly more things that everyone should pay more attention to and consider more important - I'm not ignoring that fact - but it is important that people who say ridiculous stuff to genuine footy fans after a result like Wednesday night, realise that for 3 nights a year - Origin is just about as important as life gets.

Now I've never bought into the rather too common mindset that 'my actual weekend is ruined if my team loses' - that sadly some club footy fans seem to live and die by - because when a team has 24 games a year to use in order to qualify for the Finals - a single game in May does NOT and should NOT play those tricks on a person's mind.

But Origin is a different beast.

Only actual Finals Football - when your team is facing elimination with a loss - joins this echelon of following footy.

And only Grand Finals can go beyond the exhilaration or despair that is experienced when the Origin Series is decided.

Because like it or not - there IS something on the line that goes beyond the actual scoreline.

And generally that's 6-12 months of feeling great about that glorious moment of victory or feeling downright catatonic about a rather less favourable result.

For NSW fans, that initial feeling (post winning Game 3 in 2005) hasn't been experienced in 2,558 days... and the sense of holding the crown as the series holder has been absent for 2,194 days.

Think about that for a second, as bad as '7 in a row' might sound, the fact NSW fans can't experience the joy of winning until nearly 3,000 days elapse is incomprehensible.

If you hadn't witnessed it with your own eyes.

Full Game 3 Player Ratings and FULL SERIES Evaluations below.

What did you make of the match?

If you've got a view - let us know in the comments below or via @NRLTweet

For the record: predicted a 13-12 NSW victory.
WI: Darius BOYD 7
CE: Justin HODGES 8
WI: Brent TATE 6
FE: Johnathan THURSTON 9
HB: Cooper CRONK 8
PR: Matthew SCOTT 6
HK: Cameron SMITH (c) 8
SR: Nate MYLES 7.5
LK: Corey PARKER 8.5
Ben TE'O 6
Coach: Mal MENINGA
The Good: Thurston had been kept quiet all series and then he exploded - NSW were always up against it once JT woke up. Inglis was superb on kick-returns but NSW did enough to hold him up in general play. Cronk's 40m field goal won the series but his kicking game was the best across the 3 games. Parker was a difference maker, Smith slowed the play the ball down brilliantly and Hodges also woke from a slumber to give QLD just enough potency in attack to expose the Blues. And Civoniceva was immense when he had to be - in Game 3.
The Bad: Queensland won the series but their forward pack was a big let down on previous years. If not for Civoncieva, Myles and Parker the whole group would get a C-. No real value from the bench outside of some ok straight up and down running from Hannant and Shillington but neither really imposed themselves. Tate and Nielsen barely sighted (not a bad thing given NSW didn't target them) and Thaiday was a passenger.
FB: Brett STEWART 6.5
WI: Brett MORRIS 8
CE: Michael JENNINGS 7
CE: Josh MORRIS 8.5
WI: Jarryd HAYNE 7
FE: Todd CARNEY 5.5
HB: Mitchell PEARCE 5.5
HK: Robbie FARAH 9
PR: James TAMOU 7
SR: Beau SCOTT 5
SR: Greg BIRD 7
LK: Paul GALLEN (c) 8
Luke LEWIS 6.5
Ben CREAGH 4.5
Anthony WATMOUGH 7
Coach: Ricky STUART
The Good: Josh Morris, Brett Morris and Robbie Farah. All three tried their best to lift the Blues but fell short. Hayne, Jennings, Tamou and Bird all had a crack, while Gallen was okay but not the factor he had to be. Watmough was the only bench player to really make noticeable metres.
The Bad: Lewis not seen til after halftime was catastrophic given Scott was a waste of space for the opening 45 minutes. Williams was handled poorly, played too many minutes in a row to have any impact at the end. Carney and Pearce had no presence inside attacking situations and left it all to Farah. Grant underused and Stewart barely sighted outside of his try and falling over. Sadly Creagh was the major disappointment - not for getting his head split open but for not putting any pressure on Cronk as the fresh man on the field... playing 78 minutes straight didn't stop Gallen from chasing through. And Stuart for managing his bench poorly for 3 straight games and playing Beau Scott from the get-go who was out of place and an easy target for QLD.

NOT The Footy Show Episode 114
Origin 3 Recap and Round 18 NRL Preview - Released Wednesday July 5, 2012
Right Click Save Target As This Link if you don't have iTunes for the MP3 File.

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NOT The Footy Show will release another Podcast next Wednesday night - July 11 with our Round 19 Preview show.

So enough about how bad it feels, let's take a quick look at the standouts from Origin 2012.

Robbie Farah - yes QLD won the series but he was the best player across all three games and NSW wouldn't have come close to scoring as many points without him. Inspirational - especially in defence.
Cooper Cronk - His kicking game was the difference in the series and his last kick the sealer.
Greg Inglis - Terrorised the Blues as he rose to the occasion of a big game like he always does. A weapon on the left edge but not as dangerous to the tryline at fullback in Game 3.
Nate Myles - Uses his head too much for anyone's liking but had a big series doing the dirty work for QLD. Great player to have alongside you in any contest.
Greg Bird - NSW's biggest threat in the pack running the ball but errors still plague him. The upside was he makes errors trying to make things happen and he made plenty happen across the series - likely carrying a torn pec.
James Tamou - You can't deny that when NSW had Tamou and Gallen on the field - they went forward. Played not nearly enough minutes in Game 1 and 2 and poorly managed in Game 3 despite more minutes. Queensland were worried by this guy coming in and he proved their concern was legitimate.
Corey Parker - Herculean Game 3 after hurting himself in Game 2. Considering what NSW got from their backrower replacement starter (Beau Scott for Glenn Stewart) - he was a massive difference maker.
Cameron Smith - Best anyone has ever seen (bar the referees) at slowing the play the ball down in any way he can. Some of it is legal, other times it is clearly illegal but as long as the refs don't call out Mr Perfect then he'll continue to be the heartbeat of this QLD dynasty. Such a great player on every side of the ball, but Farah outpointed him this series. Problem for NSW was Farah didn't have the support Smith did.
Ashley Harrison - Didn't play Game 3 but Parker stepped up to cover his loss. Mr One Percenter.
Josh Morris - Shocker in defence in Game 1 but a factor running the ball in Game 2 and 3.
Brent Tate - Once he nullified NSW's bomb strategy in Game 1 - foolishing NSW didn't go back to him again and Tate loved having the pressure off him. Arguably Man of the Match in Game 1. Got away with a blatant king hit in Game 3.
Petero Civoniceva - QLD's best front rower which is a feat considering the talent they put out in all 3 games. Gigantic in Game 3 to go out a winner.
Luke Lewis - Good series but spent 40 of the most important minutes of the series riding the pine in Game 3.
Paul Gallen - Playing injured and it showed. Still put up big numbers but didn't really threaten QLD with his offloads or line running.
Johnathan Thurston - The man in Game 3 and a non-factor in the first two games. The champions rise when the occasion asks them to - and JT did.
Jarryd Hayne - Should have been playing fullback all series but still managed to make contributions from the wing.
Darius Boyd - Can't score to save his life at club level but is a try-sneak at Origin level. Made sure he finished when he had to.
Brett Stewart - Yes he scored three tries but he lets the game come to him too much at Origin level. Barely sighted sniffing around forwards for an offload in the middle of the ruck and that's criminal at this level. He wasn't terrible but turning half chances into points is what wins Origins.
Ben Hannant and David Shillington - Did what they had to but neither had any significant impact.
Anthony Watmough and Tony Williams - At times looked likely and at others either looked injured or tired. Pass mark but left everyone wanting more.
Tim Grant, Trent Merrin and Michael Jennings - All had moments but not enough of them. Jennings never saw enough quality ball to worry Hodges who is suspect defensively when cutting back on the inside. Grant had one great moment - the start of Origin 2 and Merrin's game time cut in half from Game 1 to Game 2 and was dropped for Game 3.
Justin Hodges, Ben Te'o and Matt Gillett - Hodges had a dig in Game 3 but was ordinary across the series, and Gillett just never got a chance in 3 games and Te'o only played 20 mins in Game 3.
Todd Carney and Mitchell Pearce - Didn't offer NSW enough genuine creativity and their kicking games were awful for most of the series. Carney has that x-factor but Pearce we're not so sure. Defensively both had a dig though which was encouraging.
Matthew Scott - Understandable that he might not have been totally locked into this series due to off-field factors but based on his play alone (practically Man of the Series in 2011) was way down on what we had hoped to see.
Akuila Uate - Okay on kick returns but never saw the ball in attack (which is criminal NSW) and appalling in defence. Will play Origin again.
Sam Thaiday - Passenger for Game 3 and not a worry for NSW in Game 1. Still found a way to live up to his nickname Third Man Thaiday a few times.
Dave Taylor - Handling in Game 2 sealed his fate with the QLD selectors - but NSW were happy to not see him on the field in Game 3. Will be back.
Dane Nielsen - Not on the average list because at least those players did something. And can't go on the next list because QLD have no fear going back to 'get the job done' types. That being said he didn't actually do anything in Game 3.
On that LIST... (Never to play Origin again)
Beau Scott - Not up to it, period.
Ben Creagh - Never used in the role that makes him a good NRL player - and becomes a liability at Origin level.
Jamie Buhrer - Seriously how did he even play 7 minutes at Origin level?

All in all - yes a great series but Queensland winning or not, watching the Series from 1990-1994 will forever stick in my mind as the best. Now I realise that Queensland only won the 1991 series across that period but just go back and look at the sheer quality in both teams and more importantly watch the games - and it'll become evident that those sides were evenly matched with class...

Which really is NSW's problem at the end of the day.

They now have class in the #9 and arguably the #6. But the #1 and #7 jerseys are not filled with the same quality as the Queenslanders have been for the last 7 years and boy doesn't it show?

Lastly, farewell Petero. You are a champion.

NOT The Footy Show's NSW and QLD Game 3 Review was released on Thursday July 5 via an iTunes Podcast.

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