I haven’t done one of these in a while, so here we go for another round of “why I hate the NSW Blues”. Here’s my player ratings from Origin II:
NSW1. James Tedesco - injected some spark but was substituted early for the more reliable Ron Palmer and failed to make an impact on returning2. Blake Ferguson - one half of the left edge “Booze Brothers”, touched the ball less times than there are bottles in a pack of Bacardi Breezers3. Josh Dugan - some solid attack and defence, his game is progressing nicely. Will be devastating if he ever figures out how to pass the ball 4. Jarryd Hayne - the man, the myth, the legend. The most influential player on the park. Scored a try and thought he was superman, then apparently went home. Butchered a try by not passing to Brett Morris, butchered a second try by passing to Josh Morris in seat 32A. Had a hand in everything, usually to drop the ball or let in a try. Hayne Plane? More like the MH370. I never thought there’d be a more overrated player than Willie Mason, Jarryd, take a bow. 5. Brett Morris - Yeah he goes alright. Extra points for playing outside a rank imbecile. 6. James Maloney - some deft touches interspersed with some astonishing stupidity. As effective in defence as the honesty system. Blues should have been docked 2 points for his stupid beard. 7. Mitchell Pearce - hands down the most accurate kicker in the competition. Can find the opposing fullback with the accuracy of a tomahawk cruise missile. Still not half the halfback his father was. 8. Aaron Woods - Looks like Khal Drogo, plays like Joffre Baratheon 9. Nathan Peats - was brought in to provide a more dynamic running game out of dummy half and who knows, maybe we’ll get to see it one day. 10. Andrew Fifita - man of the match in game one, so naturally he had to have a break this time around. Looked lost without some criminal element written on his wrist band to inspire him. 11. Josh Jackson - a good, solid toiler. I’ll spare him the insults everyone else is rightfully copping. 12. Boyd Cordner © - I was genuinely surprised he was named as captain. And surprised that he was in the side. And that he is a professional footballer. The rugby league equivalent of a christmas present from a relative you rarely see - well meaning but ultimately a useless dust collector. 13. Tyson Frizell - See Josh Jackson14. David Klemmer - Harambe or King Kong. A big, dumb animal that doesn’t know how he got where he is and doesn’t know that what he’s doing is wrong. 15. Wade Graham - I presume his selection was some kind of Faustian deal with the Devil, where he makes the team but everything he does falls apart. This is the most reasonable theory. 16. Jake Trbojevic - showed some exceptional work with an outside in pass that caught the opposition napping, presumably because Queensland were trying to read the name on his jumper. 17. Jack Bird - I honestly cannot recall him playing. The stats have him for 19 minutes and 3 runs, but I’m sure that’s well within the margin for error.
QLD1. Billy Slater - I never saw Clive Churchill play, but Slater is the best I have ever seen. 2. Val Holmes - Brilliant finish for the first try. Then the ‘Flanno’ polish kicked in and he dropped more pill than Michael J Fox at a pharmacy 3. Will Chambers - Never in position and saw the sideline more as a suggestion than an actual limitation. Did his side the favour of wiping himself out, allowing a more competent centre to carry Queensland to victory. 4. Darius Boyd - Played a strong game at center while taking notes from Billy Slater about how an actual fullback plays the game. 5. Dane Gagai - targeted heavily by NSW, weathered everything they sent at him and scored two tries. My man of the match. Here Laurie Daley demonstrated his tactical genius by targeting the competent winger instead of the idiot on the other edge. 6. Johnathan Thurston - the best player in the game. Played with one arm behind his back just to make it fair. 7. Cooper Cronk - the third best player in the game. 8. Dylan Napa - Queensland have adopted the NSW strategy of 'pick an imbecile from the Roosters’ with the same result. Overall poor game. Only plus side is he looks a lot like Jake Busey and he was good in Starship Troopers and The Frighteners. 9. Cameron Smith © - second best player in the game.10. Jarrod Wallace - Played a strong game in the style of Martin Lang - “if you can remember anything about the game afterwards, you didn’t play hard enough”11. Gavin Cooper - a strong, solid second rower. I bet NSW wish they had one of those. 12. Matt Gillett - see above 13. Josh McGuire - after Gagai the best player on the park. Tackled everything that moved and some things that didn’t. 14. Michael Morgan - a true match winner. If I had to criticise him I’d say he looks a bit like Sean Spicer. 15. Coen Hess - Didn’t really see much of him but when I did I noticed he looked like a young Dolph Lundgren, circa Universal Soldiers. Thumbs up. 16. Tim Glasby - Some players are just made for Origin. Tim Glasby isn’t one of them. 17. Josh Papalii - Looked out of breath when he ran on to the field for the first time, like Axl Rose running to the mic in Winnipeg in 2010 and being unable to get through the opening bars of Welcome to the Jungle. Like Chinese Democracy, too little, too late.