Front and centre: Where Queensland lost it
REMEMBER those good old days when every Origin post mortem was filled with talk about who would be the Blues new halves?
It's a bad place to be but now it's Queensland's turn to face the fire.
Bent Hunt's poorly-timed options were the big dressingroom talk after the game. He will probably survive for Game III because, for all the options, there is no perfect alternative.
Daly Cherry-Evans is ripe for selection but unpopular, Anthony Milford is out of form, Ash Taylor is promising but may not be ready and Michael Morgan is injured.
Queensland tried to exploit the power of their backs by spreading the ball and consequently the men out wide made the big metres.
But it still does not excuse the forwards for a game where none of the Queensland pack made more than 100m.
Jarrod Wallace was modest in the first game and modest again. He is fighting for his future which is unfortunate because Queensland needed him to be an enforcer in the middle.
It has not been a great year for Queensland rugby league.
NSW have beaten Queensland in the schoolboys, under-16, under-18, women's, wheelchair and now the Origin series.
Anyone for darts?
CENTRE OF ATTENTION
Will Chambers has a reputation as being one of the game's most bankable centres but he was down on form this series.
The effort was there but the polish was missing. Some people were calling him the best centre in the world after the World Cup and he remains a favourite player of national coach Mal Meninga.
But he was below his best this series.
A rousing comeback victory for Queensland would have cemented Kevin Walters' case to become Broncos coach after Wayne Bennett.
Hopefully he will still be the man because he deserves the job. And it really is a small field. With Paul Green and Craig Bellamy out of the running, Walters still appears ahead of the other candidates. But nothing is certain.
SHANE Warne's unique skills inspired thousands of youngsters to take up his craft. Rugby league can only hope Kalyn Ponga can do the same.
What a joy it would be for the game if Ponga's mesmeric gifts prompted a generation of copy-cat sidesteppers and conjurers for these types of skills were being crunched out of a game getting more physical by the season.
It's very rare that one player can shape a team's destiny in State of Origin but Ponga might just be that player.
I know we are all getting a bit excited but he is worth the fuss. While he is alive and kicking Queensland will be a chance in every game he plays.
WILLIAM THE CONQUERER
Billy Slater is not even gone yet we are missing him already.
His skill set is freakish. It's like having a forensic accountant and a gifted artist in the one team.
He's the king of team players yet when he runs he looks as free and unshackled as if he's just roaring along like a cheetah on the savannah.
Slater should be fittingly honoured in his last origin game at Suncorp Stadium.
The novel concept of State of Origin on a Sunday worked solidly.
The entire package of the women's origin game, and Test matches from other nations including the always entertaining Samoa-Tonga clash was a winner.
Suddenly people are looking forward to club football returning this week rather than simply trudging through another overshadowed round featuring substandard players.
ALLAN Langer and his Ipswich mates always played the game in the right spirit and the tradition continues in retirement.
Langer was so concerned by the state of Blues skipper Boyd Cordner after he went down after a heavy knock that he stayed by his side to assist with his recovery. Nice work.
Credit where it is due.
NSW coach Brad Fittler took a major risk by opening up the front doors of the NSW camp and declaring every player available to the media every day. He reckoned if the players could not handle a five minute interview they could not handle Origin.
Far from putting pressure on the players it liberated them. Reclusive James Roberts even said to team officials "I want to talk.''