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The Rock-itt : July 2010
Queensland have clinched an unprecedented 5th consecutive State of Origin, and in the process gained the chance to sweep the NSW side in Game 3, after trouncing the Blues 34-6 in Origin 2. But there has been less talk about the game and more about the Blues future, and major controversy in the camp pregame. Now ex-assistant coach, Andrew Johns, had admitted to making racial slurs regarding some of the Queensland Origin players including Greg Inglis and Timana Tahu who was pencilled in to represent the sky blue out on the wing, and who is of Aboriginal heritage took offence to the comments and left the camp, as well as the side. Johns has since apologised for the comments, but Tahu, Inglis, and all others involved are not being very merciful. In front of 52, 452 fanatical fans, the Maroons completely dominated the match winning not just the game, but the fight also. Nay Sayers who doubted Darren Lockyer earlier in the season were made to eat their own words with the veteran five- eighth leading the onslaught gaining support from forwards, David Shillington, Matt Scott, and Dave Taylor. Queensland got in front early, exposing some poor defensive reads out wide allowing Greg Inglis to brush past his opposing player before bowling over Jarryd Hayne in cover defence to score. Israel Folau, made the Queensland side controversially after announcing a few weeks before hand that he will be joining the new Team GWS in the AFL. Many former and current players called for Folau to be omitted from the lineup, but the Aussie Rules convert proved his worth in the 12th minute as he crossed just as simply as Inglis did to extend the home side's lead. The guy was marred with an ugly incident midway through the 1st half with Cowboys enforcer the main offender. O'Donnell made a horrific spear tackle on Darius Boyd with sparked an all in brawl which led to the lock striking, and head-butting Queensland 125kg forward Dave Taylor. O' Donnell was lucky not to be sent from the field, but if he knew what was still to come, he may have been better off leaving the field. Darius Boyd shook off the O'Donnell hit moments later as he crossed for the Maroons 3rd try, and his 3rd try in 5 origins. Queensland went into halftime with a commanding 16-0 advantage. The halftime speech wasn't enough to turn the Blues form around with Queensland piling on 2 tries in the opening 8 minutes of the second stanza. Firstly, Willie Tonga breezed through the defence, and minutes later Israel Folau added to his origin try scoring tally in what may have been his last game in the Maroons jersey, with the Australian Rugby League threatening to ban Folau from any further representative duty as they see him as a walking AFL billboard and feel they should not be advertising a rival code at Rugby League's grandest stage. Tempers reached boiling point again. This time a fired up Inglis who played the whole night like a man on a mission, went toe-to-toe with origin debutant, Beau Scott. Replays revealed that NSW may have felt a little hard done by after the penalty went against them, but it made little difference to the final score line. With the Australia 6 (Lockyer), 7 (Thurston), and 9 (Smith) In the Queensland lineup, Cooper Cronk wasn't called upon to create something from the halves, but when the young Melbourne first receiver made it on to the field, he left his mark, scoring Queensland's final try in the 62nd minute to blow out the score line to 34-0. Thankfully for Blues fans it wasn't a complete whitewash with NSW prop, Brett White staggering over the line in the final stages to avoid a complete embarrassment, yet as the fulltime score suggests, it wasn't far off. The fallout from the game has been twice as exciting as the game itself with calls for wholesale changes to the New South Wales selectors committee, coaching, staff, and players. A story broke that just hours after the full-time siren Blues coach Craig Bellamy offered his resignation, but NSW officials turned it down. Game 3 will certainly be the last time the head of the Melbourne Storm will lead the Blues into battle. Candidates to take over the job include Ricky Stuart, Des Hasler, John Cartwright, and the most successful Blues coach of all time Phil Gould, who has stated that he will only accept the job if problems in the NSWRL board are sorted. When it comes to players not even the captain is safe. Kurt Gidley was relegated to the bench for game 2, and now the chances of him even playing in the 3rd encounter are slim. Mitchell Pearce looks to be the only player assured of a start in Game 3, making the team selections in a few weeks time all the more interesting. Queensland Maroons 34 (Israel Folau 2, Greg Inglis, Darius Boyd, Cooper Cronk, Willie Tonga tries; Jonathan Thurston 5 goals) Def. New South Wales Blues 6 (Brett White try; Michael Ennis goal)