NRL Great Paul Galen will be appearing in Nine’s 100% FOOTY every Monday night during the NRL season, discussing the most talked about rugby league topics, along with Phil Gould and James Bressi. Tune in tonight at 10:45 pm (AEST) before Wednesday’s State of Origin opener!
We’re two days away from the opener of the State of Origin series and it’s interesting because it’s a low-key build-up, probably the most preserved in recent memory.
No mysterious illness has been seen through the Queensland camp, no Maroon player has been able to recover from any injury over time, as we do every year.
And usually by now we’ve got wall-to-wall coverage of Freddie’s alternative way, walking barefoot and “earthing” theories.
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Final Guide: State of Origin Game 1
One of the reasons may be Billy Slater – the first series under his charge and will have a different way of approaching the match than his predecessors. Maybe he doesn’t want to play the mind games we’ve seen in the past.
Yesterday Sunday Footy Show Billy told us that Xavier Coates will almost certainly play in the left wing, something you have never seen in Queensland in the past, and they will keep it a secret until both sides finish the game on Wednesday night.
The repressed build-up is interesting, perhaps both sides have realized how close this series could possibly be and they have chosen to focus their strengths there.
On paper, this is probably the closest series for four years.
If Queensland can win, it will be a simple game plan. It would be an old school, would fight hard, beat them through their medium kind of play, then allow the Maroons to use their speed to the end.
They don’t have too many ball forwards, no one known as off-loaders.
Queensland’s vision would be to use their forwards to defeat the New South Wales forwards, then let the Daily Cherry-Evans and Cameron Munster run the ship.
In a way, unlike New South Wales, they’ve got ball-players across the park. Isaah Yeo Almost like an extra half, including juniors Paolo and Cam Murray you can expect to see lots of offload, while Damien Cook will be darting around the rock and then on the outside back, they can hit you everywhere.
Condition will play a big role in the result. Accor Stadium is traditionally very, very slippery, which makes it very difficult to play ball. But its flipside is the wind. It has been very windy in Sydney for the last few days, and if the wind blows at the stadium on Wednesday night which will keep it dry, it will keep the dew off the ground and it is definitely in favor of New South Wales.
If the wind blows off, and it’s damp and slippery, I think it’s in Queensland’s favor.
The forecast says there will be no rain, but in fact the dew at Acre Stadium is such a factor that rain doesn’t really matter. The blues will definitely need some air to keep the ground as dry as possible.
ARLC announced on Friday that it had changed the judicial code, making it less likely that players would miss a club match for a relatively minor offense in a representative match.
It’s a long overdue, I did it almost a year ago!
Players never like to pay fines, but they also don’t like to miss matches. I guarantee from the point of view of clubs, fines are much more enjoyable than missing a match of one of their star players because of something that happened in the state of origin.
If you go through the contracts of all 34 Origin players and set the pro-rata amount per match, the penalty will be less than what they earn per match, so it is quite easy to decide which option they will choose.
The hardest part of hitting a player is the back pocket, but since the club pays the lion’s share of the money a player earns, it has always been difficult to punish the club for something relatively small that happened when the player representative was not in charge. .
Perhaps the biggest news of the change is that a player’s chances of missing a grand final, even a grand final, for something relatively small.
A minor indiscretion could mean you missed a grand final if you’ve committed some crime before, and I don’t think it was good with anyone.
This is a change that should have happened a few years ago.
Go easy on fighters
There have been some whispers about the future of Nathan Brown in the Warriors, and they were very frustrated against Manly over the weekend, but it’s hard to criticize the club considering what they’ve done since the epidemic hit.
We’re judging very fast these days and calling for the coach to be fired, and there will always be someone willing to take the job, whether it’s Shane Flanagan, Paul Green, Cameron Siraldo or Josh Hannibal, but I see it on the playing roster and wonder who The new coach could do better than Brown.
One area of concern in recent weeks has been their efforts. Some of the scores placed on them have been somewhat larger for comfort. If you are defeated by a good team by 12 points, well sometimes you have to accept it. But they lost 44-12 to Manley, who were not at full strength, and Melbourne made them 70.
They have conceded more points than any other team in the competition, and you may find that sometimes the effort has not been perfect this year. Come back to that coach? Probably not. I will focus more on the individual players. I’m not going to hang Nathan Brown to dry, each player has to look at his own performance.
After the loss to Manley, Nathan said there was a time this season when they didn’t really expect to win and it was a big concern.
He never entered the field without expecting victory. These comments bother me, but to Nathan fairly, sometimes you say something after a loss and it doesn’t come out the way you wanted it to. It is difficult to be interviewed directly after the loss, you are often emotional and it is difficult to straighten out your thoughts.
Criticizing the Warriors at the moment, like beating Bambi, they have done an amazing job of keeping the game going for the last two and a half years. You have to remember that the Polynesian community is very family-oriented, which makes their situation more difficult.
I know they had families with them and NRL looked after them very well. I’m not going to make excuses for a second, because to my understanding they got what they wanted. Both Warriors and NRL have done an amazing job.
But at the end of the day they get an extended family who are not with them, even if you don’t sleep in your own bed for so long it takes a toll. I remember a kangaroo tour that went on for two months, with nothing like your own bed and your own house.
It is possible that some players have just reached the end of their teaser, the finish line is visible and they will be home soon, so maybe some of them are already mentally returning to New Zealand.
I think we need to relax them a bit.
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