Blues dynasty won’t happen
ORIGIN III. NSW up 2-nil. Clean-sweep on the cards.
What's the worst that can happen?
Queensland goes into tonight's match at Suncorp Stadium facing their poorest series result since 2000.
To hear the Maroons faithful talk, it's not going to happen. There's too much pride at stake; the renowned Queensland spirit will come to the fore. The home ground advantage is worth 10 points.
Tune into the NSW media and you'll get another version of events.
This young Blues team is the future. Freddy Fittler, with his yoga, earthing and mindful breathing (whatever those last two are) has brought a new-age approach to the side.
They are calm, centred and confident.
Most of all, they are successful - and this series win is just the beginning.
Needless to say, south of the border they are talking the D-Word. Dynasty.
Not that we should be surprised. Every time a team from NSW does anything it's as if it has never been done before.
When the Wests Tigers won the NRL premiership in 2005 a Sydney journalist wrote that their coach Tim Sheens had "revolutionised the way rugby league is played". That reporter said the same thing about Des Hasler when the Bulldogs made the grand final in 2012.
And, hardly surprisingly, he is now the one beating the drum the loudest about the amazing feat of the current Blues side in winning its second Origin series in 13 seasons.
So, who is right? The NSW supporters predicting a Blues dynasty to rival the Roman Empire, or Queenslanders who see this year's series loss as nothing more than a slight stumble; a necessary correction during the changeover from the Smith, Thurston, Cronk era?
Let's look at it objectively (if such a thing can be done when discussing Origin).
Yes, the Blues have some good young players. Nathan Cleary is the answer to their long-standing problem at number 7, although apart from a possible series-winning tackle he was pretty quiet in Game II.
The Trbojevic brothers will be around for a long time; Mitchell, Addo-Carr, Cook, Crichton, de Belin … the list goes on.
But are they really all that far in front of the Maroons?
Seems to me that if even one of the Big Three Queensland was missing had been playing in Game II, tonight's rubber would be anything but dead.
Would Smith, Thurston or Cronk have let a 12-man NSW side off the hook in those last 10 minutes? Not on your life.
And are the Maroons' up-and-comers really that inferior to the much-vaunted Baby Blues?
Kalyn Ponga showed enough in his time on the field to suggest that he will have as much impact on the future of Origin as anyone the NSW media has been nominating for sainthood over the past month.
Add in the likes of Jai Arrow and those waiting in the wings like Joe Ofahengaue and Jaydn Su'a and there isn't that much in it.
The Maroons will need a new fullback next season and there is still a big question mark over halfback but my tip is this: no matter who wins tonight, the Blues aren't embarking on any dynasty.
They might win two, three or even four of the next 13 series, but they won't win 11.
And no amount of yoga, earthing or mindful breathing is going to change that.