I reckon Queensland rugby league supporters are in for some short-term Origin pain – but it might not last for as long as cock-a-hoop NSW fans think...
There’s no sugar-coating the fact that the Maroons’ performance so far this series hasn’t been one for the ages.
It takes a lot to dampen the spirits of a Suncorp Stadium crowd on Origin night, but the red-hot Blues did just that in Game II. The show put on by Tedesco, Trbojevic, Mitchell, Cleary, Ado-Carr and co was reminiscent of the drubbings that Mal Meninga’s mighty Maroons handed out during their historic 10-from-11 series wins starting in 2006.
That was a pretty torturous run of outs for NSW supporters, and you can’t blame them for hoping that their Queensland counterparts suffer a similarly long, hard road. Personally, I can’t see it happening.
Yes, the Blues are on top now, but can they sustain it for 11 years? Not with the amount of Queensland talent just starting to come through the ranks.
How is this for a line-up of young players who have already tasted Origin football and will be around for years to come: Kalyn Ponga, Harry Grant (both 23 years-of-age), AJ Brimson (22), David Fifita, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Moeaki Totuaika (all 21) and Xavier Coates (20).
Then you can add in 19-year-olds Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, who is due to make his debut next week, and Reece Walsh who would have debuted in Game II if not for injury.
Other youngsters who are starting to make their mark in the NRL and who are eligible for the Maroons include the Broncos’ quartet of Pat Carrigan (23), Tom Flegler (22) Tesi Nui and T.C Robati (both 19), and of course Roosters’ 19-year-old boom halfback Sam Walker.
Queensland selectors will also be keeping a close eye on the progress of two other 19-year-olds who have big raps on them, Broncos’ backrower Brendan Piakura, and Raiders’ winger Xavier Savage.
Toss in the Eels’ livewire 23-year-old hooker Reed Mahoney, and I reckon you’ve got a squad of 17 that could give the Blues a real run for their money in a few years’ time.
What do YOU reckon?