So close and yet so far…
NSW should have had no chance really, and for some of the game it appeared they didn’t… but they came back, kept it close, but still went down 28-18.
Highlights and lowlights were everywhere… NSW dominated the first 10 minutes, leading up to the disallowed try to Jarrad Hayne that they’ll be talkinig about for days. It really should have been a try… how on earth do you watch that replay 20 times and then say no try? What the hell is Benefit of the Doubt for? You can’t say that was no try for sure… it was so ridiculously close I don’t see how the decision could have been anything other than with the attacking team. They should have asked themselves, “would the defense feel hard done by?” and I think the answer is no. Too many of these rulings seem based on obscure definitions from the rule book, and not about “what is best for the fans?”
The next 10 minutes after that were a disaster… with the advantage completely blown, Queensland ran riot and scored three quick tries, which made the game look like it was going to be a disaster. It was looking like a 50-2 whitewash for a while there…
Finally, some sanity prevailed. NSW improved their defense, they got one (slightly lucky, admittedly) try where Hayne definitely knocked the ball back even if it rolled forward afterward. 18-6 at halftime was fair, and surprising honestly, considering how things looked earlier.
So, salvageable for NSW, right? Then the 2nd half opened with an immediate Queensland try, so the half looked like it would be a disaster again. 24-6 and all that. But then things changed again, NSW were on the up, their defense was good and their attack was making enormous yardage. Every set went 70 metres nearly, and they constantly hammered the line. Two great tries off kicks and good ball play, especially the second one where Robbie Farah kicked, regathered then sent Hayne over. Really classy stuff, and for a while it looked like NSW could even pull it off. But alas…
It was not to be. Queensland’s defense held firm, their insane magnitude of experience over NSW held strong, and they even bagged a quick late try to seal things 28-18. About the difference between the two teams really, though I would have liked 24-18 better. Despite NSW’s rookie team, there wasn’t that much between the sides in the end.
Player-wise, NSW’s best would have been Luke O’Donnell, Robbie Farah and Jarrad Hayne. Was very glad to see Farah do so well on debut, this is one Wests player who should have years of Origin in him… even as a future captain I would say. Queensland had the usual top class performers, with Thurston and Inglis the best.
That Greg Inglis… I still don’t understand why he even plays for Queensland… this guy grew up and started playing in NSW (Bowraville), further south than some of our players… yet by some obscure ruling based on a Melbourne Storm feeder team he played for in suburban Brisbane, he’s allowed to play for Queensland. Very weird, and a ruling NSW is clearly going to hate for years to come. I’ve still never seen a good enough explanation as to why this was allowed to happen.
So in the end, NSW weren’t exactly unlucky to lose, but they really showed some class for the future. They were massively outmatched in most positions, but really held strong in the end and only went down narrowly. Hopefully they can use this to win in Sydney for game two, and then game three in Queensland — which will be a mammoth task — well, who knows? This is a strong team for the future, though I’m worried they still might lose this series, even if it’s close and valiant.
Final word: Queensland are all class, we know that, but NSW made a good showing, and it bodes well for the team’s future.