Almanac League: Five Metre Gap – Origin I 2016

Like the way of the five metre gap in defence looking at the points you may have missed from the first game from the State of Origin series won 6-4 by Queensland over New South Wales in Sydney. Unlike our normal column you likely saw the contest but here are some things we have picked out from the game here at Five Metre Gap HQ.

 

Late in the fixture the Maroons kicking game came to the fore with halves Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston putting in crucial kicks to help seal the win. Cronk (13) and Thurston (10) shared the majority of the kicks but for the Blues it was interesting to note, particularly in the second half, the clever short kicking game of Robbie Farah (who did force a drop-out) was limited to only that kick. The Tigers rake had only three kicks all game. Some variety instead of a focus on Adam Reynolds (19 kicks) may have helped unlock the Queensland defence again and been able to add to Boyd Cordner’s opening four-pointer.

 

Speaking of kicks Blues fullback Matt Moylan must do better on kick receptions/return in game two. The Penrith custodian, in combination with winger Blake Ferguson, let two kicks bounce which each nearly had dire immediate consequences for the home side. Moylan also fumbled a ball with six minutes to go which meant the subsequent NSW set probably lost ten metres at the start before Corey Oates easily fielded the kick at the end of the set near his goal line under little duress. The chance to really pressure Queensland in that set was lost with the first possession.

 

NSW pivot James Maloney could also have been more adventurous. The Sharks 5/8 set-up Cordner’s 25th minute try but that run to the line was one of only three he made all game. Neither side’s halves ran a great deal, Cronk with four was the most. But if it worked for Laurie Daley’s side once the NSW coach should have given Maloney more free reign to take the line on.

 

Dane Gagai’s wing was targeted in the game three decider last year but the Queensland back had a night out at Sydney Olympic Park scoring the crucial try in the 37th minute. The former Bronco could have had a second try also and made a crucial play to shut down NSW when they had a sustained period of pressure in the Queensland ‘red zone’ (20 metres) with 75% possession during one five-minute period. One of Blues’ debutants was winger Josh Mansour who had a torrid night marking Gagai but put in a solid effort himself breaking five tackles and the 100 metres gained mark on attack.

 

For each forward pack NSW’s Cordner (127 metres) and Queensland interchange forward Josh McGuire (109) made the most on attack. Andrew Fifita’s three offloads was a match best for the New South Wales bench player with no forward breaking more than two tackles in a defensively focused contest which both sides complete 32 sets in a match with 15 errors.

@hamishneal

This review first appeared on From the sideline of sport

About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his 'spare time' (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.

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