Almanac Rugby League – I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues: Why Origin 2015 is All Over Before it’s Even Started

Normally I am totally averse to going the early crow on sporting events. The early crow’s a mock, and as all punters know a mock is something to be avoided like the bubonic plague: it’s kryptonite to Superman, garlic to vampires. The reality is that calling a result is venturing out onto turf where angels fear to tread.

Sometimes, just sometimes though, you have to walk on the wild side. That time is now, right now, and I’m going to run the gauntlet and walk the plank and give you all an early spruik.

New South Wales can’t win Origin 2015.

The cockroaches don’t have Buckley’s chance – the gargantuan convict William (he was 6ft 7″ at a time when the average height was 5ft 2″) survived – they have absolutely have no chance. Nil, zip, nada. They are 100 -1 and blowing like a gale.

To tell it plainly, there is no chance of Laurie Daley’s boys proving that lightning strikes twice and knocking over the Mighty Maroons.

Why’s that you ask? Let me count the ways.

1. Hayne.

The best all-round Aussie athlete since Snowy Baker and Keith Miller (sorry Anthony, you’re kidding yourself), won Game 1 in 2014 for NSW almost single-handedly. His performance was simply breathtaking, and but for the cyborg-like performances of Paul Gallen (see below) he would surely have been man of the series.

No-one can replace the on-again, off-again (he’s presently on) Mormon kid from Western Sydney who is about to shock and amaze the world by first winning an unexpected NFL roster spot, then win the rookie of the year award at the ripe old age of 28.

Moylan is a future superstar, and Dugan is very good, but there’s only one Jarryd Hayne. His absence is a massive blow.

2. Gallen

Gallen’s likely absence from Origin 1 is without doubt a bigger blow to NSW’s chances than the loss of Hayne. The man is a machine, a cyborg whose work rate defies logical belief.

In the 2014 series he made the most runs and metres of any NSW player, making a massive 63 hit ups (Hayne was 2nd with 45) and gaining 514m (Hayne again was 2nd with 445m). Gallen almost achieved the hat-trick, his 99 tackles being bested in the count only by Robbie Farah with 118, most of them made in the play the ball area whereas Gallen’s came in general play.

After his blind side shot on Nate Miles in the 2013 series Gallen is the most hated man north of the Tweed River, and he has long been a pain in the ass for Queensland, who are breathing a massive sigh of relief at the news that his own ass pains appear certain to rule him out of the first game of the series.

3. Bird

Bird has long been the hard man of the NSW team, an attack dog whose sheer aggression intimidates opponents in the way that Tyson used to scare his challengers in the ring. His on and off-field transgressions lead many to forget just how talented a footballer the five-eight turned backrower really is, but he’s been in the top 5 in runs, tackles, and metres gained in each of the 15 Origins and 13 Tests that he has played.

Missing the series due to the 8 week suspension he incurred for his mad antics during the meaningless Anzac Day Test – we fought together, not against each other – is a cruel body blow both to the winning prospects of both the Blues, and his club the Gold Coast Titans. His absence leaves a huge hole, and with due respect to Trent Merrin, Beau Scott and Josh Jackson, none could hold a candle to the Bird of Prey.

4. Watmough

The game of the long-time leader of the NSW pack has disintegrated since his ill-timed move to Parramatta. To use crude horse-racing parlance he is going like a busted ass, and every gambler knows that it is madness to bet on previous years form. Yet he is bound to be selected if fit, and as age and circumstances catch up with him will be a decided liability for the team.

We tip that he’ll be dropped after the drubbing in the 1st match as the selectors hit the panic button and blame everyone but themselves for the results they have inflicted upon their supporters.

5. The NSW Selectors

If you believe the media reports it appears that the NSW selectors are seriously contemplating changing the 2014 winning halves combination of Bulldogs Tent Hodgkinson and Josh Reynolds. Such a move would simply be madness, and the fact that they are even considering such a move shows that they have learned little from Queensland’s “8-in-a-row” formula of keeping continuity in the side.

Origin is not like the regular series. The players come together from different clubs playing different styles and systems, and spend just 3 games together in a year. The advantage of familiarity with the vagaries of their team-mates’ play is invaluable, as the Queensland selectors well know; and the thought of tampering with a winning combination would be anathema to the wise-heads in the Maroons camp.

With all due respect to the bloke, the fact that Mitchell Pearce is even in contemplation for selection is the cause of great mirth in the Sunshine State. He may well be a top flight club player – well at least every second or third week – but just look at the scoreboard. The bloke simply isn’t an Origin winner, and never will be. The Blues selectors would have to be kidding.

6. Tupou

Another one going like a ‘busted ass’. The world beater of the past 2 seasons appears a different player to the Tupou of 2015 as opposition coaches have worked out his strengths and weaknesses, and learned to counter the tall winger’s effectiveness under the high ball. Tupou’s early career reminds me a lot of that of Jamal Idris, and just look at where that big fella’s Origin career is now.

7. Tamou

Less hit ups than team-mates Ethan Lowe and Gavin Cooper (who?); fewer tackles than Scott Bolton (who?); and only 4m more ground gained in attack that Kane Linnett (is he still playing in the NRL?).

And certain to be one of the first players selected for the Blues. What a joke.

The Wrap-Up

It’s all over before it starts. The Cockroaches can’t win, end of story.

You can get plenty of $1.90 about Queensland to win the series. With interest rates at record lows you will never again see a bargain like this. So race down to see your local bank manager, mortgage the suburban palace for all it’s worth, plonk it on the Maroons and in just 8 weeks time you’ll have the double story shed, the billiard room, the pool and the tennis court you’ve always dreamed of.

It’s a surer bet than Labor taking Billy Gordon’s vote. Don’t you worry about that.

About Archie Butterfly

Archie's decided to follow the dream and try become the next great Aussie bush poet. They all think he's mad. He's out to prove them right!

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