State of Origin 2020: How Maroon stunned NSW and won the series, Matty Johns
State of Origin 2020: How Maroon stunned NSW and won the series, Matty Johns

How Maroons stunned NSW and stole the series

People are asking how Queensland turned things around so dramatically and snatched the series.

Styles make fights, those who dictate the nature of the contest, win the contest.

Take Sugar Ray Leonard versus Roberto Duran.

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To know how Queensland beat NSW you only need to look at the infamous Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Duran fight.
To know how Queensland beat NSW you only need to look at the infamous Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Duran fight.

Fight One: Leonard, one of the highest paid American. Duran, a battler out of Panama, whose greatest claim to fame was knocking out a horse with one punch.

Leonard knew he was in trouble when after the weigh-in he was sitting at the buffet at the Waldorf Astoria eating a salad with his knife and fork and looked across to see Duran eating a steak with both hands, rare.

Duran dictated the nature of the fight, it was a street brawl and he won.

 

Fight Two: Leonard had learnt his lesson and went back to boxing. Duran quit through frustration, muttering those immortal words… nomás.

 

Game One: Queensland made it a game of effort. NSW had the talent but Queensland dug in and pulled off an unlikely win.

 

Game Two: Sanity prevailed, talent ruled, NSW dominated. Queensland's effort boys were out of their depth against the talent of the blues. Of course, rolling into Game III, it was a fate acccompli.

In the meantime, NSW, as confident as you would have ever seen them, a plethora of talent to pick from, do we play Ryan Papenhuyzen on the bench or wait till next series?

Queensland losing players to injury one after the other. Now we all know about Wayne Bennett's magic dust, but surely at this age, and at this point, his pocket was bare?

 

Game Three: Queenslanders are so parochial, but a number of Queenslanders themselves were having doubts. They started fast again, but this time they kept control and made it their contest.

It wasn't a game of talent, it was a game of tenacity and toughness, as Duran had done to Leonard, they made it a street fight.

Just before halftime you could sense NSW were in all sorts of trouble.

Queensland were dominating the contest, or should I say, making it their style of contest. In the second half, no matter what happened, or how many chances Queensland gave NSW, you sensed destiny was only going Queensland's way.

 

CAMERON MUNSTER

When you talk about the greatest ever Origin players, you have to talk about Cameron Munster. We live in a different age, this is the age of the over-analysis, there are no secrets. Your strengths are analysed, your mistakes highlighted.

The great players of Origin past were, to a certain extent spared that. In Origin I, Munster dominated with a hangover, in Origin II, he was KO'd and they sunk like the Titanic.

He returns in Game III, they win, and he is clearly the best player on the field.

I'm reminded of a great story about scallywags.

 

The great Dutch football manager Guus Hiddink once coached legendary Brazilian striker Romario at PSV Eindhoven.

Romario loved a good time, in fact he partied every night. Hiddink was getting nervous about his commitment, so two weeks out from their big European Cup clash vs. Steaua Bucharest, he asked the players to wind their clocks forward fifteen minutes. Romario turned up to the team meeting, typically, two minutes before time, but with all clocks wound forward, effectively he was late. Hiddink dropped Romario. In the two games leading up to the Steaua match, Romario's replacement scored a brace in both games.

The day before the match, Romario begged Hiddink to put him back into the team. Hiddink replied, "Don't let me down." Romario scored a hat-trick and PSV won easily.

 

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When Queensland lost Munster in Game Two, they lost their Romario. The scallywag who lifts the team in belief and emotion by their presence in big matches.

Munster's performance on Wednesday night was as good as any I've seen in Origin football.

There are plenty of people once again, reading the eulogy of the Melbourne Storm.

But while they're almost certain to lose Cameron Smith, Cameron Munster, Brandon Smith, and Harry Grant, who on debut Wednesday night showed he's about to become one of the game's most influential players, will ensure Melbourne's dominance is a longway from over.

 

 

 

Originally published as Matty: How Maroons stunned NSW and stole the series

Dictate the nature of the fight and you’ll win.
Dictate the nature of the fight and you’ll win.

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