If you are from north of the border your social media is probably littered with updates about how QLD were robbed by the referee. If you are from South of the border you will say QLD got everything they deserved.
Regardless of which colour your blood runs and regardless of whether or not you agree with how much the whistle was blown in the first half. There is one indisputable fact, the referees decided the match.
With so many penalties and such a weight of possession in the first half, when we finally saw some football from the 65th-80th minute of the match, QLD by that stage had just done too much defense to win. Even when they went up 14-12 late, part of me knew NSW still had more points in them.
QLD missed Papalii and Morgan and QLD need some youth. They also need to go away from this pick and stick policy a little. Guerra was a passenger this series and did very little. Myles I have said before is probably past it at Origin level. It's been a great Origin career for Nate. He might have played his last game. But their champions kept them in every game. There was some adjustment this year with Boyd organising at the back, but he and the team handled that with pure class. It's hard to comment on what they did wrong last night except with a 9-1 first half penalty count they need to work on discipline.
With only 14 tackles in the opposition 20, QLD did well to come up with three tries. Cooper's combination with Thurston paid off as we saw the Nth QLD duo put on a Nth QLD try for QLD, isolating Moylan in defense. Oates took a lot of carries out of trouble and left them with very little sting in attack. QLD should maybe vary their attack in the game not from game to game. If you noticed, QLD went all right side in game 1 and 2 and all left side in game 3. It's obviously about who they think they can exploit and they did it well. It does get a bit one dimensional. But when you win 11 series in 10 years you can use as many or a s little dimensions as you like.
The major takeway for QLD fans was their defense. I haven't seen many defensive efforts from a team like QLD showed last night. To do that much work on your line and only concede 1 try is proof enough they are champions and if you need further proof, let's not forget they won the series, Again!.
You can't go around QLD. When Cronk was binned in the first half, NSW reverted to their game 1 and 2 tactics of trying to go around QLD. I feel like we have said it at Fansunite so many times over the Origin period we need to scream it:
BOYD DEFENDS UP IN THE LINE YOU CAN'T GO AROUND THEM!
NSW reverting to this tactic is a by product of them not having a halfback that can read the game well enough. Maloney played great and runs the ball really well and cut QLD up a couple of times. But when Cronk was binned it's obvious the NSW brains-trust defaulted to thinking 'they only have 12 men they will be short on an edge let's go around them'. If I were Phil Gould I would be saying 'no no no no no no no'. It took Tyson Frizell to run straight to put on NSW first try. NSW need to pick a halfback when their halfback gets injured. They got away with a makeshift pivot because they won the game and people will say, 'I thought Moylan did a great job playing out of posiiton'. If you analyse the game it was Moylan out of position that QLD exploited to put on two tries. They had him in his heels for the Inglis try where he just looked like a fish out of water. Then Thurston the champion that he is, got Cooper one on one with him for QLDs second try and Cooper was just too big.
I hope for NSW sake this win doesn't lull them into a false sense of security and they rest on this win thinking they have cracked QLD. When you look at the first half possession and penalty count NSW should have been up 20-4 not 6-4. And in the end almost lost the game.
Tedesco - Should now have a a lock on the number 1 shirt. Almost scored the match winner on debut. Was solid in attack and defense.
Boyd - Safe as ever under the bomb. Try assist for Inglis. And didn't give up in the kick chase to score the try that almost won QLD the game. Tedesco might have a mortgage on the NSW number 1 shirt, last night Boyd not only secured the mortgage on the QLD no 1. jersey, he bought the property next door to garage his Australian jumper.
Gallen - As always, takes the hard runs, the runs no one wants. Regardless of who you support he has been one of the toughest rep players for the last decade.
Smith - Held QLD together in the middle of the park like he always does. With penalty after penalty kept his side calm and structured in defense.
Frizell - Got my man of the match, while everyone is going sideways, Frizell goes straight and hard at the advantage line. Is a rep player if ever I've seen one.
As for the niggle. In my humble opinion I didn't mind the niggle. When a niggle happens and players just run in and grab jumpers it looks stupid and scrappy now that fighting is outlawed in the game. Fifita's brain explosion was just that. Cooper shouldn't have thrown the ball at Moylans head and Fifita was right to cop the sin bin for his reaction. And Maloney going out of his way to push Parker in the back rather than celebrate the match winner with his team, well that was just weird. Go congratulate Jennings. But as fans we ask men with testosterone flowing to show aggression and toughness and then when it boils over a little we call them grubs and cheats. You can't have it both ways.
[As an aside: The only thing I will say is in the NRL the Broncos and the Cowboys generally don't niggle in the ruck and the by product of that last year was a free flowing slick grand final and it was one of the best games of NRL for many years and the best grand final in recent history. So as for the niggling, that's just a side note to consider.]
I said in my lead up this game felt a lot like game 3, 2006 and the last 5 minutes highlighted this. In 2006 QLD were behind on the scoreboard, backs to the wall. And they found a way to score a try to seal the win.
Last night NSW were behind on the scoreboard, backs to the wall, they defended a set on their own line, turned the ball over and went 100 metres to score the match winner.
NSW continue to try and find that Origin 'thing' that QLD has. And it's hard to put into words. But from now on if NSW ever need to explain Origin to a young player or a fan, all they have to do is replay the last 5 minutes of last nights game.
I don't care where you are from, who you support, which players you like and which players you think are 'grubs'. And I don't much care who won and who lost. The last 5 minutes of Origin 3 are why players play Origin and they are why fans watch Origin.
The last 5 minutes of last nights Origin was State of Origin football, period!
Oh and Woods trying to celebrate and diving straight over the top of his own team was pretty funny too!.