Maroons rewrite history as power imbalance continues
THE BALANCE of power in State of Origin football has been turned on its head by the Maroons in the past decade.
The excuse, and it is an excuse in every sense of the word, often trotted out by NSW for their failures over 10 of the past 11 seasons is that "this is a once in a generation Queensland side".
That may well be true.
But if that is the case then it is also a once in a generation NSW side, but not in a good way.
Consider these statistics:
At the end of the 2005 series there had been 75 Origin games played. NSW had won 37, Queensland 36 with two drawn.
So for the first 25 years of Origin footy the two states shared the spoils. It was tit for tat.
Wayne Bennett and Arthur Beetson's success as coaches in 41 games in charge of Queensland, for 24 wins, was balanced out by the phenomenal record of Phil Gould in his 24 games at the helm of the Blues.
Gould coached virtually a third of the first 75 Origin games played by the Blues.
In his eight series in charge the NSW won six series, lost just one and drew the other, although the Maroons retained the shield that year (2002) as they had won the previous season.
But in the last 11 seasons the Maroons have won 22 games and the Blues just 11.
So after 108 Origins the Maroons now have a 58-48 winning margin, a gap never before seen in Origin history.
It is why NSW's 18-14 win in the dead rubber clash on Wednesday night cannot hide the fact that the modern day Blues have been an aberration, and also the worst NSW sides ever.
For the sake of the competition, it is to be hoped that Michael Jennings 79th minute try does not prevent the soul searching and revamp of the entire NSW structure that is necessary.
If Johnathan Thurston's late 5th tackle kick had given the Maroons another set of six we could well be talking about one of the worst ever losses in Blues history.
It is hard to recall a game where one side had dominated the penalty count (12-3 in NSW favour) and possession in such a way, and yet still been unable to put the opposition away.
NSW should have won by a wide margin.
Coach Laurie Daley is now the second Blues coach to have lost three series, with Craig Bellamy. But Bellamy did not get a chance to make it four.
Daley will be fortunate indeed to keep his post in 2017, a series where the Maroons will host two games at Suncorp Stadium.
Can we expect a change in fortunes in Origin footy and a return to the status quo of win for win, series for series?
I doubt it.
The Maroons will have Thurston, Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Greg Inglis for at least next year, and likely until the end of 2018.
I would expect Josh Papalii and the Roosters' Dylan Napa to provide youthful oomph to the forward pack well into the future and complement the forwards already coming through
In the backline the likes of Anthony Milford, Michael Morgan and Valentine Holmes will have a big say in future Origin clashes.
The Blues have unearthed some real stars of the future, no doubt.
James Tedesco is a running fullback of immense talent and his Origin debut on Wednesday night augured well for a long career in a Blues jumper.
Dragons forward Tyson Frizell will be the first picked in the pack when Origin rolls around next year.
One hundred miles an hour he goes. He's uncompromising and up for the battles that loom large in Brisbane in 2017.
But the Blues major issue is the lack of consistency in their spine.
Next year you can be sure there will be debate over who plays in the halves and at hooker.
Robbie Farah's days are numbered and no-one is sold on James Maloney and Matt Moylan providing long term success as a combination. Sporadic wins, yes. Regular victories, no.
The imbalance of power looks set to continue for a while yet.