While these days the Maroons have access to some of the best players in the NRL and International competitions, this wasn’t always the case and Queensland threw together a bunch of blokes and stuck with them through thick and thin. It worked.
While you’d like to think that NSW are trying to improve on their performances each year, especially after losing the past 2 State of Origin Series’ – why then, do they still continue to shoot themselves in the foot?
They simply cannot make up their mind.
Take for example their 2007 campaign. With Queensland seemingly having an endless array of talent, especially in the halves – NSW chose to ‘blood’ a potential future champion in Jarrod Mullen. The Newcastle youngster had impressed in his short stint in the top grade and NSW were prepared to overlook the likes of Brett Kimmorley and Matt Orford and possibly give away a victory to prepare Mullen and the NSW side for future series’.
Fast forward to 2008.
Again Queensland remain strong not just in the halves, but across the park. NSW are in need of a halfback to build their team around, after the planning of 2007 and the continued rise of Jarrod Mullen and his Knights in the past 12 months – the choice of the young halfback would have surely been a ‘no-brainer’.
Surely after all the succession planning in 2007 and the fact that NSW had gambled a result on Mullen in 2007, they must at least stick with their plans and continue to build their side and future around Mullen?
No, that would be the logical thing to do. Too logical for NSW. They try to copy the Queensland blueprint and they simply don’t have the patience to see it through. Only 12 months later, NSW put together a very different side. Playing directly into Queensland hands.
Mullen isn’t picked, again NSW gamble on a young half with no Origin experience. No disrespect to Peter Wallace, already a top quality player and future star – but as we all know Origin is a different kettle of fish. NSW also fail to pick a full-time five-eighth, they select the tough, bustling Greg Bird in the halves. Understandable given the robust nature of Bird and his ever improving abilities – but wouldn’t the choice of Braith Anasta an NRL club pivot week in week out, be the natural choice to help a debutant at halfback in the young Wallace?
Last series, even before NSW thought about blooding Jarrod Mullen, they debated over whether to give Brett Kimmorley another shot at half-back. The maligned Cronulla half never getting another look in after ‘that’ intercept pass that cost NSW dearly on a couple of years ago – but regardless of what you think of Kimmorley as a player, apart from that pass – the talented no.7 had done so well for NSW. But as the Blues Brains Trust (if we can call them that) quickly give Kimmorley the flick, kicking another player in the guts and throwing loyalty out the window.
Just when you think NSW are going down a whole new path, they suddenly throw you back to past plans by adding in veteran Craig Fitzgibbon. Certainly in-form and a player that won’t let anyone down, but the selection of Fitzy doesn’t marry up to the future succession planning implemented only last year by the NSW camp.
Can we call is succession planning? Probably not now, everything has been thrown out the window for the Blues and it seems that NSW is continuing to over complicate the whole State of Origin concept.
Yes, winning Origin is extremely tough. You’ve got to have the best coaching group, the best game plans, luck with the referee, a good bounce of the ball and even luck from the Origin gods above. But above all, loyalty seems to have won the most games in the State of Origin arena.
The sooner NSW ‘understand’ that, rather than just think about it for 12 months, then scrap it – the sooner they will become an Origin force again.