Like any Origin game, you always have one major moment of controversy, one major moment of stupidity, and one major moment that has everyone thinking, ‘How did you come up with that call?’
Well, in last night’s game, the first game of the 2012 Origin series, there was all that and more – as the Queensland Maroons defeated the NSW Blues 18-10, in a grinding contest, with a bit controversy thrown into the middle.
It all started with Michael Jennings being sin-binned for his involvement in the first major biff of this year’s Origin series, after the Panthers centre ran 40m to throw several punches, one of which connected – something that even the commentators touched on, and agreed with the decision to put him in the bin.
The moment of controversy arrived towards the end of the game, when Greg Inglis went in for a try, after NSW hooker Robbie Farah kicked it out of his hands, and the ball bobbled free, before Inglis grounded it.
Whilst the rule itself on that very matter deems it as play on, due to the fact that the NSW player played at the football (video referee Sean Hampstead used this very interpretation to award it) – NSW captain Paul Gallen was livid at the decision.
“How the hell is that a try?” he asked.
“This is ridiculous where this is getting.”
For Blues coach Ricky Stuart however, despite the unusual element of the try, he admitted that the right call was made.
Stuart was not so easy on Jennings however, with the centre sin-binned for his involvement in the major biff – a move that changed the dynamics of the first-half, given that early on, NSW were on top.
“It was a silly action (by Jennings),” Stuart said, the incident costing Jennings a grade one contrary conduct charge that will see him miss one match, even with an early guilty plea.
“Am I disappointed about the fight, no, I just wish there was more people involved in it.
“It was six or seven (Queenslanders) onto one at one stage and Jenno ran in about ninth.
“They didn’t just pop up out of the ground.”
On the other side of the coin, QLD coach Mal Meninga had an issue with the questioning of the calls – stating that they should not have taken away from what was a gutsy QLD performance, after the Blues had them on the ropes early.
“I thought it was a deliberate act coming in over the top so I thought it was a fair call,” Meninga said of the Jennings binning.
“It was a strong decision by the referee.
“It’s a special team they keep on believing in what they’re doing … instead of asking questions about who swung a punch or if that try’s fair dinkum, you should be reporting about the greatness of that game.
“It was a great game of football.”
Despite their loss however, NSW had some players that played very well for the club – with the Eels Jarryd Hayne, the Titans Greg Bird, and the Cowboys James Tamou, all having stellar games.