Mitchell PearceJoin us for a live blog of Origin II at 7pm. 1. Tonight is a big night for Blues halfback Mitchell Pearce
If NSW are to win tonight and end seven long years of Origin football misery, I suggest halfback Mitchell Pearce really needs to have the game of his life. NSW selectors have been very patient with this lad – which is a good thing. However, it’s now time for Pearce to deliver and repay the faith shown in him by winning the Blues a series.
The training wheels are well and truly off. Pearce, at 24 years of age, has now played 143 NRL matches and 10 State of Origin encounters. Of the 10 Origin matches he has played, his team has only won on three occasions. Pearce has all the attributes to play at this level. The most crucial part of his game on Wednesday will be his general-play kicking.
He needs to get the Blues downfield with the long kicks and he needs to apply pressure to the Maroons with his close-range attacking kicks. Pearce must be able to force line drop-outs on Queensland, or at least keep them pinned in their own territory for long periods of the contest. With the Maroons being one match down in the series, Pearce can force them into panic mode with a judicious kicking game.2. Some Origin Trivia for you to ponder
● This is the 48th Origin to be played at Suncorp Stadium – Queensland have won 29; NSW 17, with one game drawn.
● NSW have taken a 1-0 lead to Brisbane on seven occasions for one win and six losses. The only win was in 2000.
● Only six NSW players have won at Suncorp Stadium, but none have won when the series has been ”alive”. The winners are Michael Jennings, Josh Morris, Paul Gallen, Ryan Hoffman, Greg Bird and Anthony Watmough.
● Queensland have trailed 1-0 in the series on 15 occasions. They have won seven and lost eight.
● The last time Queensland lost the series after two games was in 2003.
● Greg Inglis has scored 14 tries. That is one try more than the entire tally of Origin tries scored by the whole NSW team The Blues better be watching him!
3. Some more facts and figures
There have been 97 Origin matches played so far in the three-game series format. Queensland have scored 1599 points from 278 tries, 245 goals and 10 field goals. NSW have scored 1534 points from 261 tries, 244 goals and 13 field goals.
That’s a difference of only 65 points over the entire history of Origin football. However, over the past 22 games, including seven series wins to Queensland, the Maroons have outscored the Blues 425 to 329; that’s a difference of 96 points. NSW have led 45 times at half-time for 33 wins (73.3 per cent). Queensland have led 40 times for 33 wins (82.5 per cent).
NSW have come from behind at half-time on seven occasions to win, Queensland 11 times. Queensland have led at half-time in nine of the past 10 matches.
4. Adam Reynolds is developing fast
One reason NSW half Mitchell Pearce needs to get some wins on his CV is because the young man at South Sydney is starting to snap at his heels. Reynolds is getting better by the week and I was impressed with his football smarts at the weekend in the wet at ANZ Stadium. Reynolds showed maturity beyond his years. Reynolds’ kicking game was superb.
If Souths are not scoring points from his short kicking game, they are certainly dominating field position and applying a lot of pressure to their opponents courtesy of his accurate boot. Reynolds is also becoming quite dangerous with his running game.
He is strong, fearless and elusive – just what you want from a halfback in big games. His try on Sunday where he shrugged off a couple of forwards and powered his way over the line showed tremendous desire and confidence.
5. Big Four are ready to rumble
Last week I travelled to Coolum in Queensland, into the Maroons’ Origin camp, to interview Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater. What an absolute pleasure it was to be in the company of these outstanding young men.
Not only are they champion footballers, but they are wonderful individuals. Smith was especially impressive. I had never met him in person before. While all these boys are leaders in their own right, Smith’s responses and demeanour shone above all else in the room. Just 20 minutes talking to him in that environment and it was obvious why he and his teams have been so successful. An edited version of the interview will be shown pre-match on Wednesday on Channel Nine.
The full version will be available post-match on the new Jump-in app, which you can access through iTunes.
6. The Eels need to forget the referees
At one point in Sunday’s match between Parramatta and South Sydney, the referee was approached by an upset Eels skipper saying words to the effect: “It’s the same every week. We are down in the penalty count 8 to 4 again.”
So what does this tell us? Well, it shows us the penalty count is really on the minds of the Eels players. It’s an obvious source of frustration to them.
The players are reacting badly to penalties because they drop their heads at the sound of the whistle or wave their arms in protest as the captain runs to the referee to complain. The Coach is then hot and bothered after the game complaining about the lopsided penalty count. Hey, we’ve all been there. I’m not pointing fingers here.
But through my own experience I can now ask the question, “How’s this reaction working out for you?” From where I’m sitting it doesn’t seem to be going too well at all. If, as the skipper suggests, this is happening every week, then maybe the players need to settle down and take a different mentality into the game.
How about stop giving the referees reasons to penalise; and if you do concede a penalty, whether you think it’s warranted or not, view the next set of six as a defensive challenge rather than the end of the world. I guarantee your demeanor, your enjoyment and your football will improve as a result.
Phil Gould is general manager of Penrith Panthers
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.Categories : 杭州龙凤