I reckon the Maroons hit rock bottom in Townsville which isn’t all bad news...
It means there is only one way they can go from here, and that’s up. Wednesday night’s 50-6 demolition by the Blues was a rude awakening for Queenslanders who thought that a parochial sell-out crowd and Maroon spirit would be enough to get the boys over the line.
Wayne Bennett once said that every Queenslander walks a little taller the morning after an Origin win. Well, there were a lot of long faces around the state on Thursday morning.
It isn’t all doom and gloom though. Queenslanders have been here before. Who can forget Game III, 2000 when the Blues capped off a three-nil series win with a 56-16 thrashing at Stadium Australia? More to the point, who can forget Bryan Fletcher’s humiliating hand-grenade try celebration?
Wayne Bennett couldn’t. He came out of Origin retirement the next season to engineer one of the greatest comebacks in Origin history. It started with nine debutants stunning the Blues 34-16 at Suncorp Stadium in Game I, and ended with Alfie Langer flying 15,000kms to deliver the knockout blow eight weeks later.
Can the Maroons rewrite history at Suncorp Stadium on June 27 and climb up off the canvas? It’s a huge assignment but Queensland coach Paul Green knows first-hand what Origin comebacks are all about. He moved from halfback to hooker to accommodate Langer in that historic 40-14 Game III win in 2001.
He’ll have to call on every trick he learnt from Bennett that year if his shell-shocked team are to keep the series alive on June 27 but I reckon, with the backing of a pulsating crowd at Suncorp Stadium, they can pull it of.
What do YOU reckon?
AGREE: Yes they can. Townsville was a reality check. Now they know what they are up against and they have got almost three weeks to work on a plan to nullify the Blues’ strengths.
DISAGREE: You are kidding. NSW were dominant in every aspect of the game. The only way the Maroons are a chance is if the Blues’ bus gets lost on the way to the stadium.