I will offer two reviews of Origin I. The first will be from my perspective as a New South Wales supporter. The second will be from an objective perspective of the game.
How good was game 1! For the first time in a long time, we just gave it to those filthy Queenslanders. It is also good to see that Nate Myles won’t be able to drop a deuce in a hotel corridor anymore, because he got the crap belted out of him by Paul Gallen. Gallen was just doing what was best for the game of rugby league. Myles was being a grub in the ruck, using wrestling tactics and Gal punished him for it. That gives me an idea for a new rule change. If a player is found to be using wrestling tactics in the ruck, then the opposition get two free punches at him. At the moment, it seems that it would be the most effective way to remove that tactic which damaging the game. It was also interesting to see that when one Queensland player went toe-to-toe with a NSW player, the Queensland player backed down. I guess Queensland is only willing to fight when they have a numbers advantage. As wrestling commentator Jim Ross would say, Myles was running like a scolded dog, with a case of the limber tail. I have no idea what that means, but in wrestling this line would be used when the villain would back down from the hero when it was just one-on-one. Sorry if you don’t understand the reference.
I see that the Queensland wankers (including King Wanker Wally Lewis) are complaining about the refereeing as they thought that Gallen should have been sin-binned. To these whinging complaints, I have this point. Cooper Cronk committed a professional foul about 20 minutes in, which set up the missed shot at penalty goal. He didn’t get binned. So, why should one professional foul not be sin binned, while another (Gallen’s punches) are to be? Good to see Queensland are as intelligent as ever!
While I loved Gallen beat the crap out of Myles, it was a really dumb play. At that time, there was only 40 seconds left on the clock in the first half. The penalty that resulted gave Queensland another few tackles for a score before the end of the half. And while biased Bossy is damaging my credibility, I do believe that there was consistency in the rulings in the first half. I thought that both Cronk and Gallen should have been sin-binned for their offences. There were some wrong officiating decisions but each team got their fair share of bad calls. I was happy that the game was decided by the two teams and not the officiating. In this game New South Wales were clearly the better team. An 8 point win did not reflect their true dominance. Both sides will probably make some changes for game 2. For New South Wales, they cannot play just 16 players in game 2. They were tired late in the second half and another forward in the rotation would help them out on a faster Suncorp Stadium surface. For Queensland, they didn’t have enough muscle up front. They need another prop and they are hoping that Ben Hannant will be fit for game 2. I do expect this great team to bounce back and be very tough to beat in game 2.
There has been a lot of debate about the level of violence in the first game. For those who aren’t familiar with rugby league, Origin is like rugby league on angry pills. Yet, the extra violence and aggression makes the game the most watched for the whole year, even more than the NRL Grand Final. The rivalry between the two states is by far the biggest in Australia and probably in the Southern Hemisphere. Given that rugby league is a physical sport, any games between these two teams always has the potential to flare up. The game is going to be physical and violent. If you can’t handle it, then simply don’t watch. At the moment, too many people simply enjoy the violent aspect of the game. Does that mean something is wrong with society? I think not as people have always been drawn to violence. In the ancient Olympic Games, one of the most popular sports was Pankration, which was essentially a fight to the death. If a competitor did give up, he would live with shame for the rest of his life. I know this was a while ago, but my point is that most humans are drawn to violence and conflict. I know I’d rather see two football teams beat each other up than see someone go rampant with a gun.
On a less serious note, I got 4 from 4 last week. I’m back on track! I got the lock of the week but there was no upset last week as all of the favourites won.
LOCK OF THE WEEK: 10/12
UPSET OF THE WEEK: 2/9*
*: in rounds 2, 6 and 12 there were no upsets
PARRAMATTA EELS V SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Tip: Roosters (LOCK OF THE WEEK). The Roosters do have more players backing up from Origin I, but I think that they will be too strong in this game. If Hayne does not back up, then the Eels are no chance. While Parramatta does play better at Parramatta Stadium, the Roosters will be looking to bounce back from the loss to Melbourne in their last start and continue their impressive form. The Eels will be looking for a huge improvement from their very disappointing loss to the Gold Coast two weeks ago. They have named a fair few changes from their Round 11 team, with Joseph Paulo stating at five eight in place of Kelly and Terepo named to start at lock. Ryan Morgan returns to replace Pewhairangi in the centres and Brayden Wiliame replaces Toutai on one wing. Pritchard, Junior Paulo and Smith are all not named, with the new 5-man bench comprising of Jake Mullaney, Darcy Lussick, Mitch Allgood, Pat O’Hanlon and Kenny Edwards. The Roosters have no changes from their round 11 team.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS V ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Tip: Knights. This is a huge game for the Knights. They need to win this game in order to stay in the top 8. A loss would be a huge blow to their finals aspirations. However, this game is in Newcastle and the Knights play much better at home, so I am expecting them to win this one. As for the Dragons, they were very poor in a loss to the Dragons in one of the most dull rugby league games this season. While they get their Origin players back, I still don’t think it will be enough. From last week’s team, the Knights welcome back Darius Boyd, with Naiqama moving to the wing and Mantellato omitted. McKinnon is out with injury and Houston returns to start in the second row. Hilder has also not been named, with Adam Clydesdale and Neville Costigan added to the 5-man bench. For the Dragons, Brett Morris is back on one wing, while Vidot is named 18th man. Chase Stanley moves into five eight, with Soward dropped. Nathan Green comes into the side in the centres. Dan Hunt returns to start at prop, with Stockwell named on the bench. Trent Merrin’s return to start at lock moves Frizzell to the bench, with Ah Mau and Matthews omitted.
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS V CANTERBURY BULLDOGS
Tip: Bulldogs. I simply cannot tip the Cowboys this week, even if they do have Thurston back and are at home. I may have stated this in previous articles but the Cowboys are the biggest disappointment so far in 2013. They can turn their season around with a win here. The Dogs are currently on the fringe of the top 8 and this game is almost a must win game. Their game in Round 1 was of very low quality and I wouldn’t be surprised if this game was similar. Since then, the Dogs have slowly but surely improved, while the Cowboys have regressed. The Cowboys have named 21 players with the Cowboys having 4 players in Origin. From last week’s team, Johnathan Thurston and Brent Tate return to start at five eight and centre respectively. Winterstein moves from centre to the win, while Faifai Loa and Morgan are named on the bench. Matt Scott and James Tamou are named to start at prop, while Ashton Sims and Bolton are also named on the bench. Canterbury have only named on change, with Krisnan Inu again returning from suspension, which moves Brown to one wing. Low has been omitted. However, as Josh Reynolds did not play in Origin I, it would be expected to see him play in this game.
PENRITH PANTHERS V WESTS TIGERS
Tip: Panthers. Before Robbie Farah was ruled out of this game to injury, I thought the Tigers might win this game. Without Farah in the line-up, I give the Tigers little chance. This is a big game for the Panthers, who have recently been very strong at home, including notching up 62 points in round 10. It will be interesting to see how they play this week, following a week off. They are a young team, who will have to work hard to maintain their momentum from the past few weeks. As for the Tigers, they are still on the foot of the ladder despite picking up 4 points in the last two weeks. They need a huge game from Benji Marshall if they are to pick up another 2 points. Penrith are unchanged from the Round 11 team that defeated the Dragons. The Tigers have quite a few changes from their Round 11 team. Tedesco is out, with Sean Meaney starting at fullback. Fulton and Thompson are out, while Pettybourne and Ben Murdoch-Masila are their replacements in the second row. Farah has been named at hooker but will not play, while Jarred Farlow and Masada Iosefa are added to the bench.
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS V MANLY SEA EAGLES
Tip: Manly. While the Warriors have won two games in a row, I can’t see them overcoming one of the premiership contenders in Manly. They have scored 84 points in the last two games but they face one of the best defences in the NRL this week. However, the Warriors do play better at home. As for Manly, they have only scored 7 points from the last 6 rounds and this includes a bye. They are still in the top 4 and a win here would help keep the gap between themselves and 5th place. As mentioned in previous articles, the return of Brett Stewart cannot come soon enough. The only change for the Warriors is the addition of Suaia Matagi to the 5-man bench. Manly only have one addition, that of James Hasson to their 5-man bench.
MELBOURNE STORM V CRONULLA SHARKS
Tip: Storm. This is probably the game of the weekend. Both sides have multiple players backing up from Origin I and both will be looking to pick up where they left off on Wednesday night. Gallen will definitely be out of this game after taking a one-match ban for his punches to Nate Myles. Melbourne bounced back after a month of indifferent form by beating the Roosters in Round 11, while the Sharks have won 4 straight heading into this game. The loss of Gallen will not be a huge blow as the Sharks have a plethora of back rowers. The Storm have named a nearly full strength team, as they have named the same 1 to 17 that defeated the Roosters last start. They have added Brett Finch, Tim Glasby and Kenneath Bromwich to a 7-man bench. Michael Gordon is named to start at fullback for Cronulla, with Gardner omitted. Luke Lewis and Gallen are named to start in the back row, with Tagataese and Bukuya named on the bench. However, as mentioned above, Gallen will be out of this game.
CANBERRA RAIDERS V BRISBANE BRONCOS
Tip: Raiders. The Raiders have lost their last two games, but they were tough away losses against Cronulla and Manly. They are the only team that has yet to lose a game at home in 2013 and I expect this to continue against a Brisbane side that needs to be much better than they were last week. Both sides are just sitting outside of the top 8 and a win would be very handy for either side. I just can’t see the Broncos turning around their recent poor form, especially on a cold Canberra night. The Raiders have named an unchanged side from the team that last to Manly in Round 11, while the Broncos welcome back their Origin players from last week’s team. Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett and Corey Parker are all back and are all starting in the back row. Anderson, Lui and Slyney are all named on the bench. It remains to be seen if Wallace will be moved to hooker again for the start of this game, as that tactic clearly didn’t work against the Warriors.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
I’m sorry that I’ve gone so soft again by not taking an upset this week. Even though I haven’t tipped them, my UPSET OF THE WEEK is Cronulla. It remains to be seen how the big three will recover from Origin I. The Sharks will only have 3 players backing up and it is in the forwards where they have plenty of depth. The Warriors may also be a good chance for an upset, as they are on a bit of a roll as of late.
‘BEAT THE BOSS’
With all teams under strength due to origin commitments and byes, it was going to be a challenge for everyone. There was one big upset, with the Crackalackers beating P7Panthers 215-159. My Bandits beat R.Lewis+Denzel’s 318-176, Pearce’s Pride beat the Buzzing Hornets 288-175 and the Funky Bunch beat the Pit Dogs 310-165. Next week’s games are:
- Pearce’s Pride v Boggabri Bandits
- The Funky Bunch v Buzzing Hornets
- The Crackclackers v R.Lewis+Denzel’s
- P7Panthers v Harkonnen Pit Dogs