From the Couch Rd 19

By Nick Tedeschi

The Scars of 2017 Will Never Heal: Queensland once again hold the State of Origin shield and once again the Blues are left to lament, reflect and wonder where it all went wrong. This year though, it will hurt more, because the Blues were one act of Jarryd Hayne selfishness away from wrapping the series up in the first three halves. Alas, he did not pass to an open Brett Morris, the Blues buckled under pressure in the second half and then were whipped from pillar to post in the decider. On single plays fates are decided.

The Blues have no real choice but to start again despite their obvious reluctance to do so. The scars from this year cannot be healed. The only solution is a wipeout from top to bottom. From George Peponis, who said Laurie Daley should keep his job, to Daley, to the off-field staff, to a host of players.

There actually is no other way. Daley has shown he cannot set aside his inherent conservatism and need to pal-up with players. The likes of Mitchell Pearce and Aaron Woods cannot overcome the history of defeat they have endured while the likes of Josh Dugan, Jarryd Hayne and Blake Ferguson have shown they cannot be played out of position and probably shouldn’t be played at all.

The biggest worry throughout the whole series – aside from the initial ridiculous selection of Pearce – was the pride Daley and advisor Peter Sterling had in sticking with the same 17. No heed was paid to the fact the Blues choked badly in the second game. When Queensland lost, they adjusted. When the Blues lost, they rested on their laurels. Guess who won the series?

There should be blood. It is the only way.

Team for Game 1 2018:

Tedesco, Mansour, Roberts, Gutherson, T Trbojevic, Maloney, A Reynolds, Fifita, Cook, Vaughan, Cordner, Graham, J Trbojevic, Peachey, James, Klemmer, Frizell

The End of Days: There is nothing more enjoyable than seeing Rugby League played on a waterlogged pitch and that is what we got on Saturday night on the Gold Coast when a freak storm hit the city and left the stadium under water. Players couldn’t step. Kicks stopped dead in their tracks. Splashes everywhere. It was incredible to watch.

Warriors Cast: The New Zealand Warriors will not win another game for the rest of the season following the devastating news that Shaun Johnson has done his ACL and will miss the rest of 2017. The last time Johnson went down hurt and was ruled out for the rest of the season the Warriors, New Zealand lost all seven in his absence, four by more than 20 points. Their weak-willed performance in the last 15 minutes is hardly a positive sign for the weeks ahead.

Had to Be Seen to Be Believed: Joel Edwards catching the ball on a standing start, spinning, rolling, busting tackles and carrying three players over for a try. I saw it and still don’t believe it.

2017 Field Goal Update – 21: Lachlan Coote loves a field goal and snapped his second in two games to seal the win against an awful South Sydney team.

Fun Fact #1: Tim Glasby has never lost an Origin match and has more series wins in two games than Mitchell Pearce does in 18.

Fun Fact #2: New South Wales became the first team to not make any changes throughout a series and not win the series.

Fun Fact #3: The skipper of the winning team has won one Man of the Match award ever series since 2010 bar one.

Betting Market of the Week: The reason for sticking with Mitchell Pearce in Game 1 of the 2018 series:

$1.60: Loyalty
$1.50: This is Mitchell’s team … but he is never to blame for the losses
$1.30: He is the best available half
$1.01: All of the above

Rumour Mill: Cooper Cronk is expected to announce he will be playing with Cronulla next season though there is speculation Canterbury are set to make a late play. Jai Arrow will be playing for the Titans in 2018. Michael Lichaa is set to play for Parramatta next season. Blake Austin is likely to end up at Newcastle. Tyrone Peachey has had a gutful at Penrith and will seek a release with Canterbury and South Sydney both in the running.

Robbie Farah Anger Level – Medium: Robbie was no doubt very happy that Damien Cook was dropped for “tactical reasons” against the Cowboys.

What I Like About … Cameron Munster: His Origin debut was one of the greatest Origin debuts of all-time. He looked like an aged veteran with the class and composure he displayed. He will be the Queensland No.6 for many years to come. Munster is a pure footballer and one of the best players in the premiership to watch.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 19: Newcastle – Brisbane, 22 – 34. This game was very entertaining from beginning to end with plenty of swings and roundabouts and some ridiculous plays, highlighted by Sam Thaiday’s falling gridiron pass.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Laurie Daley’s time as NSW coach has surely come to an end despite the ridiculous comment from NSWRL chairman George Peponis that he would retain the job if he wanted. Daley is well liked in Rugby League but even he knows that one win in five series isn’t good enough and that it is time to walk away. The dearth of quality replacements should not stop New South Wales from moving on from Daley.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Michael Maguire must be the only coach in the NRL that doesn’t rate Damien Cook. He is the best hooker not only at Souths but in NSW yet gets dropped against the Cowboys “for tactical reasons”. Here is a tactic South Sydney should try: winning. The starting point for that might be naming your best players to play.

Beard Watch: Sam Thaiday’s beard rarely gets much of a mention because it is of the stock standard variety but gee it was good seeing a bearded hero with a bit of heft play as well as he did in the second half against the Knights. So much lair!

Correspondence Corner: Lewis, the problem isn’t Mitchell Pearce, the problem is the idiots who continue to pick him despite incontrovertible evidence that he is not up to Origin standard.

Mark, the culture in NSW Rugby League is insipid: conservative, weak-willed, fearful, self-interested.

Davey G, outstanding Killer Bees reference!

Joey, thanks for the kind words! Des got a two-year extension but payout capped at $500,000.

The Truthteller, believe me, I was hoping I was wrong too.

Watch It: Unfortunately, this video doesn’t capture the entirety of the career of “The Philly Fail” Greg Smith but it gives a fair representation. Watch it here.

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