Queensland have done it again!
The Maroons have won their 11th State Of Origin series in 12 years by defeating New South Wales by 22-6 in front of a record crowd of 52,540 people at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Coming into the series, many people thought the Blues were a massive chance of ending Queensland’s dominant run, and after a 28-4 victory in Game One at Suncorp Stadium, many more people were convinced that New South Wales could claim just their second series victory in 12 years.
And, despite suffering an earth-shattering 18-16 loss in Game Two at ANZ Stadium, and the criticism of the Blues second half performance, many experts still thought New South Wales could still win the series, especially when Johnathan Thurston was ruled out of Game Three for the Maroons after producing one of the most courageous performances of all-time, after severely injuring his shoulder early in the match, but played the entire match without showing too much of the effects of the injury, kicking the winning conversion attempt to see Queensland home.
However, despite the ongoing optimism surrounding the Blues heading into Game Three, they just could not deliver! Why?
To work out why New South Wales have lost their 11th State Of Origin series in 12 years, we need to look at the long-term set-up of both the Maroons and the Blues to establish the differences between the two states.
Back in 2006, the great Mal Meninga became the coach of Queensland, and while most people see the role of a head coach as coaching and managing the playing staff of a sporting team, Meninga saw the role of coaching the Maroons, the team that he once represented on a total of 32 occasions in State Of Origin, as a role much greater than coaching the team itself.
Meninga wanted to create a culture that made whoever was selected not only better players, but better people. He wanted the players to understand the past, understand the history of the team and the state, the history of the people who came before the current group, how they came to being a Queensland player, what they were willing to sacrifice, how desperate the players of the past were to win and give their absolute best for the Maroons to get the players of the modern era to understand that they had a tradition to uphold, and that they couldn’t afford to let their mates, their families and their state down to such a level that it spurred them onto such a level of dominance over New South Wales that is unparalleled in the history of the game that level.
Meninga also controlled the people that he allowed into the team set-up, and he didn’t want anyone who could, and possibly would ruin the set-up of what he created, but also what the state created in the years before today.
Meninga is now doing the same with the Australian rugby league team.
However, New South Wales has not been able to match their fierce rivals as far as this is concerned, and the Blues have copped a lot of criticism as a result.
Andrew Johns, who played 23 times for the Blues, has been by far the most scathing in his critique of the team, and of its culture, explaining on the post-match coverage on Nine’s Wide World Of Sports that the New South Wales team don’t get it, and don’t understand what it takes to win at this level.
The coach of New South Wales, Laurie Daley, has also played 23 times for New South Wales, and has won 13 games as a player, the same as Johns.
So, what can Johns see that Daley can’t to get New South Wales inspired to win?
Johns, like Meninga, has a rare gift that not too many people in any walk of life have.
He knows within himself what it takes to achieve success, and he knows what he wants to put in place, and where he wants to place the puzzle pieces, and how he wants everything to be organised, and he wants it organised exactly the way that he likes it.
However, most people, whether that is in sport, the media, or even in another industry struggle to get these kind of people, but the organisations who have embraced these kind of people, and keep asking them to be involved over a long period of time have had a huge amount of success.
Daley is a great role model, and a great contributor to rugby league in New South Wales, he doesn’t have vision in the same way as Johns does. Johns, while he can ruffle a few feathers if you don’t treat him in the right way, he always has everyone’s best interests in his mind.
Johns has the best interests of the Blues in what he is saying and how he is speaking!
Sadly, most people across rugby league in New South Wales across all levels of the game, including the media, simply do not get it!
And, for the entire game of rugby league, that is just sickening!
And another thing