Almanac Rugby League – Five Metre Gap: Origin II, 2016


Like the way of the five metre gap in defence looking at the points you may have missed from the second game of the State of Origin series. Queensland claimed the shield with a 26-16 victory in Brisbane. Unlike our normal column you likely saw the contest but here are some things we have picked out from the fixture which gives Queensland victory in ten of the last 11 inter-state series.


The result was almost a foregone conclusion, statistically at least, at the break with Queensland leading 10-4 as the home side possess a 25-1 win-loss record when leading at half-time in games played in Brisbane. Despite the Blues scoring two tries in the second stanza, as they did in game two last season, Kevin Walters’ side was the superior outfit with winger Dane Gagai becoming the fifth player in history to score a try in each of his first three games in Origin. The Newcastle back eventually dotted down three times.


Signalled before the game as having a bigger influence in terms of game time NSW forward Andrew Fifita failed to repeat his game one exploits making only 59 metres. By way of comparison in game one he made 109 metres in 24 minutes from 12 runs with an impressive three offloads. The Sharks forward was by no means the only Blues forward to disappoint with only Aaron Woods 117 metres) cracking the 100 metre mark.


Queensland forward Josh McGuire made 94 metres in nine runs to top the engine room effort in the first half of game two and finished with 128 metres as one of the best for the Maroons. Having announced his retirement during the week Brisbane forward Corey Parker with 150 metres from 16 runs to go with his 26 tackles was hugely impressive.


With Dylan Walker having played for Australia at right centre and also having won a grand final in that position Blues coach Laurie Daley placed his faith in the Manly player to fill the role when Josh Morris was ruled out but early on Walker was disappointing conceding four penalties in 17 minutes. To go with his attempt to milk a penalty during his nine-minute cameo in game one that meant Walker had made five bad decisions in 26 minutes of Origin football. You could make an argument two of the penalties Walker conceded close to the line were loose carries but even three bad decisions in that period is poor.


That said Walker wasn’t the only Blues outside back to have a bad night with fellow centre Michael Jennings making errors which were responsible for two Queensland tries plus two handling errors, admittedly when looking to score himself, which meant two potential Blues tries were ruled out. Queensland will now head to game three at ANZ Stadium on July 13 seeking their first series clean sweep since 2010 having confirmed the series win after two games for only the eighth time. But it wasn’t all bad for NSW on the night – they did win the Under 18s game 26-0.


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.


  1. Richard Jones says

    GOOD stuff, Hamish
    As a former R.L. caller on ABC radio (albeit in Port Moresby, the capital of the only nation in the world where rugby league is the national sport) I can only assume than many fellow Mexicans might miss your nuances on handling errors in Origin II.
    We Viccies aren’t born and bred into R.L.
    That said, I agree that NSW centre Jennings was less than perfect with his handling skills. And, yep, big Aaron Woods had a real crack. Must be extremely hard to bring down.
    I always go for the NSW Cockroaches to beat the Qld. Canetoads!!!!

  2. Ball handling skills in Origin contests have never really been clean, it is usually about pressure big forwards big hits where the contest is king and in the past Qld have excelled in these areas. The big moments Qld have owned. When NSW last won the series they were physical and intimidating and tackled and pressured and capitalised on possession.
    Not unhappy about the result!

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