Home > The Straight Bat > Adrian Considers- State of Origin Game I

Adrian Considers- State of Origin Game I

The first game of State of Origin for 2011 is in the books. Queensland won 16-12. There are signs though that this series isn’t done and dusted quite just yet.

Firstly, kudos must go to the Queensland side for grabbing yet another victory. Despite missing some potent outside backs, they were still able to accumulate enough points. Thurston was very good, despite missing two important kicks which would have given his side a more comfortable lead. I expect the NSW side will be doing plenty of work on the short grubber into the in-goal as part of their preparations for Game II.

I thought I’d just highlight some of the players that for me were standouts, and then some others who… Well, you’ll just have to read on.

Matt Scott was excellent- he was hitting that ball up beautifully, and you could tell the NSW defence had their hands full trying to contain him. While Steve Price may be retired, and Petero is at the back end of his career, this man has stepped up to fill the void.

Josh Dugan was fantastic under the high ball, and in my eyes, one of the main reasons why Queensland didn’t stack on the points mid way through the second half, when they had numerous sets back-to-back. I backed Dugan to have a good game on debut, and he performed admirably for mine. I don’t think Hayne would have held up during the aforementioned passage of play, and I don’t think he should be picked for Game II. Dugan is the man, and just quietly, he didn’t fair too badly in attack either.

There were a few raised eyebrows when Michael Jennings was named in the side. Despite his club side struggling and his form this year quite average by his standards, he came out and scored a crucial try. Plenty of pace, and wasn’t out of sorts in defence. He should be back for Game II.

There was plenty of talk surrounding Darren Lockyer as he went into his last Origin series, and he delivered a vintage performance. Of course, he’s not as quick as he once was, but he’s got a fair head on his shoulders and his timing is near perfection. Combination with JT, Cam Smith and Billy Slater is near unbeatable, and it was those four players which sealed the deal for Queensland.

Jamie Soward was good on debut- would have liked to have seen more kicking from him, especially earlier on. I guess he was just easing into the game. His critics have always said his defence is soft- looked pretty good to me. Pick him again, let the combination with Pearce grow.

Jason King- why was he picked? Nothing against the guy- he’s not a bad footballer by any stretch of the imagination- I just think there were better options for the front row. Namely Aiden Tolman. But he’s injured now, and probably won’t get a look in this year, which is a shame. King really didn’t do anything for me tonight, so I think NSW need to look elsewhere for a starting prop.

I was disappointed that Ben Creagh didn’t get more of a run- his form has been fantastic, and he started for the Kangaroos. I suppose there are only so many spots in the side, and both Beau Scott and Greg Bird performed admirably. Gallen was solid in his first game as captain- got through plenty of work, and was very professional in his approach to the game- no silly penalties or dropped balls.

So, where does that leave us? Game II is building to be an intriguing battle. NSW will have the home advantage, and should be buoyed by their performance tonight. Perhaps if some of the calls had gone the other way (pass from Pearce to Dugan- was it really forward?) then we might have had a different result.  Nonetheless, the signs are there- pick the majority of the side once more, and we’ll do it all again in a few weeks time.

Agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Queenslander #1
    May 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Defiantly going to be a good series, with NSW putting up a better fight then in previous years. However,I do think that once the Maroons are back to full strength they will be too good for the Blues. Better selections may help the NSW team, but I don’t think that they will be good enough to win this series. Maybe a game, but not the whole series. Going to be good though. Fitting end to a great career for Darren Lockyer. How good is that guy?

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