It looks like I’m writing about the horror of the 52-6 annihilation of the NSW Blues by the Queensland Maroons last night (Wednesday, 8 July 2015), as prompted by:
- The dream I had earlier this week, where my sister yelled at me to quit my job to become a sports writer.
- Baiting from one of my great mates and proud Queenslandah
And like any good sports writer, it will be told unashamedly through the eyes of the State I support. (Hint – we’re feeling quite blue today…)
It’s fair to say that the score was unexpected, but not Queensland’s ruthless performance (the kind of performance we’ve come to know and hate from the past decade). NSW were brimming with new-found confidence after a dominant display in Game Two. We were finally back on the path toward a genuine winning culture, and with stars like the Morris twins, Tamou and Jennings performing at their best, along with new-comers Klemmer, Jackson and Woods, the future was looking bright. Across the border, The Dad’s Army were getting, well, old, and their supposed bright future in Cherry-Evans continued to prove he’s not up to Origin standard.
And then the tide turned, and no-one in NSW seemed to notice: Slater announced he was withdrawing from the game to have season-ending shoulder surgery. Enter Inglis at fullback, who’s become a much better player in that position than Slater. Cherry-Evans was not-so-surprisingly dropped not just for poor form, but for the return of Cronk. Throw in the Smith-McKinnon 60 minutes drama and Queensland are right where they want to be. And still we didn’t notice. We were too busy “concentrating on our own game” and running away with the glimmer of hope we’d given ourselves.
The game was well and truly over by 22-2, and then reminiscent of the 56-16 Queensland smashing in Game Three of the 2000 series– it was our turn to stop trying (in effort and actual scoring of tries). From there, it just went further downhill: Hopoate forgot that he needs to tackle, Tamou got reckless with a swinging arm he should have been binned for, Merrin got himself on report for a dumb spear tackle on Parker (now my Dragons will be without our best forward for probably four weeks, at a time where we desperately need him) and our halves must have gone home, because they were nowhere to be found. Queensland were toying with us, the most embarrassing way to get through an elite-level sports game of any kind. It was the perfect showcase for the likes of Thurston and Inglis to prove why they’ll be future Immortals (the former clearly more deserving of the honour).
NSW had come so far in the last two years, and now our bright future has been taken back to our darkest past circa 2009-2010. So the ultimate question that has been bandied about today like our forward pack was last night, is “where does NSW go from here?”
I don’t have a bloody clue. But we’ve got a year to sort it out.