Free State Of Origin Live Streaming Game 2 Rugby Football Holden State Of Origin 2015 Online, State Of Origin Game 02 Match will be kick off at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) Stadium,Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Wednesday 17 June 2015 online, Time 20.00pm (AEDT) and its broadcast on Channel Nine, Fox Sports, Radio 2GB,Triple M, ABC Grandstand.
Each year since 2005 Queensland have assembled roughly the same, best rugby league men of Australia, draped them in maroon guernseys and yelled “Queenslander!” at them until they froth at the mouth like Cane Toads, all bulbous spit and riddupping ‘tood. And it’s been jolly effective, as eight titles in a row would attest.
It also helps that they have some of the great players – ultra-professional, motivated and high-skilled humans based around a champion core – Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Sam Thaiday and Darius Boyd. This is one of the great rugby league teams.
And yet … and yet they only beat New South Wales by one point in Game One. And this after the Blues turned in perhaps the worst forty minutes of attacking football across all senior levels of rugby league in this year of our Lord Rocket Reddy 2015. A heap of turnover ball, dud options, didn’t kick a penalty into touch. How do you not kick a penalty into touch? Late in the game they twice stuffed up field goals, a move so practiced they run drills in their dreams.
The Blues? They were poop, the Blues.
And yet Queensland could only beat that by one point? With that champion team? Against one-armed Robbie Farah. Against a team lacking non-playing Paul Gallen and Brett Morris. Against a Blues machine with a spine so muddled and dithering it couldn’t drop-kick the ball between two sticks from twenty metres out? Queensland could only beat that poop by a point?
Granted they did what they had to do. They know how to win, the Maroons. Their champions just know. And it’s huge for Queensland to be one-up heading to Brisbane for either decider or lap of honour.
But questions remain.
How fit is Billy Slater, for one. Greg Inglis was a hollowed-out old emu in Game One. But they still chucked him in, glassy-eyed and twitching, dry-retching. He wasn’t that crook. But even that crook the man’s very presence is dangerous. The very possibilities of him, what he might do. That’s a dangerous man who frightens defenders just by being there. And given his club form’s been progressively hotter since, you’d be surprised if the great man doesn’t torch the Blues out wide at some stage Wednesday night. His combination with Thurston inside and Boyd on the wing, that, people, is rugby league best practice. That combination can ruin you, particularly with Slater screaming around out the back. But Billy’s got a bung wing. And here we are.
Now, Slater will play. Like Inglis you’d still have him out there, just for fear factor. And he’s a hard-arse, Billy. Maggot hard. But so is Beau Scott. And so is Josh Jackson. And so is old man river Paul Gallen. And these three hard-shouldered hombres, these terror units, are going to “test” Slater’s shoulder by doing to him what Hodges did to Farah in Game One: double-man jiu-jitsu shoulder-slam, baby.
Double-man jiu-jitsu shoulder-slam.
In modern day rugby league, there aren’t usually what traditionalists would call halfbacks and five-eighths, meaning ones who pass the ball to each other and send it on out the backline. Cooper Cronk is a seven and so is Johnathan Thurston, who’s also a magnificent six. And so Queensland like most teams have two guys who are good at passing and kicking and controlling either side of the ruck. And that’s how things roll.
But for mine NSW have picked the same player in the six and seven. And while they have a mandate to do what they do on either side, Mitchell Pearce and Trent Hodkinson are halfbacks.
They’re one-pass-off-the-ruck men. Controllers. And while you’re loathe to question Laurie Daley, far better rugby league minds than mine would attest that halves have better “balance” if they complement one another rather than being effectively the same man.
Better surely to have one “controller” who does the link man stuff and yells at forwards and kicks the mucous out of it long on tackle five downtown. See: Pearce. And then your other half is your rock-n-roll action man who runs and attacks and does tricky things on tackle five that others don’t expect. See: Blake Austin. Or Josh Reynolds. Or Jamie Soward. Or Kieran Foran if you will – and I do.
Do not, however, see Trent Hodkinson.
But good luck to him. Here’s hoping he has a good hard game and kicks the ball out on the full when he’s mandated to do so by the laws of rugby league. But if he stuffs up on the death like he did in Game One then he won’t play State of Origin again. Well, maybe he will. But he’s down on club form, down on confidence, and was benched by Des Hasler in a club fixture. And he’s on a promise. And he must surely know it. Good luck to him. But you’d suggest this is it.
Was it all Hodkinson’s fault that those field goals didn’t go over in Game One? Of course not. Team game, and everyone dies with everyone else. And Robbie Farah and Mitchell Pearce would tell you that. Had a yarn with Farah on the Friday after Origin One, and as he says in this month’s Inside Sport magazine, those last ten minutes didn’t go to plan.
“We had a penalty and myself and the halves got together, spoke about the set. We’d run our structure then work back towards the posts. Which we did. If you look at the set we went right, shifted it back. Play the ball was under the posts.
“Mitch was out to my right, Trent was to my left. We’d trained for it, in case Mitch was pressured he could pass to Trent. For some reason, I don’t know why, we didn’t take the shot. Between the three of us there was communication breakdown. Not sure what they saw but I was expecting them to take the field goal. And we buggered the set up, kicked it dead on the last.
“Then Queensland went down and kicked the goal. And then we stuffed it up again. I passed it to the wrong person. ‘Duges’ [Josh Dugan] got a shot away, struck it well, but …”.
A winner? Dunno. Bookies will return you ninety cents for a dollar outlaid on both teams winning. And there’s every chance it’ll be another hard-case game of completed sets, repeat sets and repeated brutalisation of one’s enemies. Apart from the odd star-spangled banner burst – Billy Slater in ’04; Josh Morris in ’15 – Origins are hard, clinical, surgical, hyper-physical human chess in which forwards don’t pass and backs run straight and everyone finishes the game bleeding.
But a winner? Queensland, probably. Cooper Cronk is a huge out. And Paul Gallen and Brett Morris coming back from the Blues is a fine fillip. But Queensland, with Inglis in form running off Thurston, running off a go-forward pack that made easy, dominant metres well into enemy territory late in Game One … you’d suggest Queensland have the better team.
And Farah’s shoulder, like Slater’s, will be tested in combat. Justin Hodges, Nate Myles and all those bad-boys, they’ll belt Farah because they know if he goes off NSW don’t have a ruck-based ball distributor or dangerous dummy-half sniper who can make sixty tackles with a bung arm. And that could be bad.
The Blues will try and try again, and they have some hard and fast men. Dugan, Micky Jennings, the Morris brother, these people are more hairy goat than man. But this Queensland is this Queensland. The greatest there’s ever been.
Maroons by 7.