Shocking evidence of Maroons’ decline

 

How the mighty have fallen in 10 years.

On the eve of Origin I in Adelaide, The Daily Telegraph can reveal the colossal gap in class and star power between the 2010 Queensland side, which dominated NSW 3-0, and this year's unfashionable and uninspiring Maroons side.

There is a solid argument that not one member of the modern-day Maroons would crack a spot in the 2010 team.

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In a frightening show of depth, legendary halfback Cooper Cronk was left out of the 2010 starting side for halves Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston.

The only "weak" link in a backline that contained Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Greg Inglis, Israel Folau, Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston was Willie Tonga, and even he played 12 Tests for Australia.

The 2010 forwards were just as formidable.

The front row alone - Matt Scott, Cam Smith and Petero Civoniceva - played a combined 97 games for Queensland and 123 Tests for Australia.

The back row contained Nate Myles (32 Origins), Sam Thaiday (29) and Ashley Harrison (15). Harrison was the only starting forward not to play for Australia.

Apart from Cronk, the bench contained David Shillington, Ben Hannant and Dave Taylor - plenty of size, power and experience.

In contrast, some claim the Queensland side that will run out tonight is the state's worst in 40 years of Origin.

 

 

 

The Courier Mail’s front page celebrating a clean sweep in 2010.
The Courier Mail’s front page celebrating a clean sweep in 2010.

 

 

Four of the backline members - AJ Brimson, Xavier Coates, Brenko Lee and Phillip Sami - are making their Maroons debuts.

The other three - Dane Gagai, Cameron Munster and Daly Cherry-Evans - are classy but only Gagai might have unseated his 2010 counterpart Tonga.

There are two more debutants in the forwards in Jake Friend and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, although Friend has won premierships with the Roosters and been unlucky to have had Smith in front of him for so many years.

While at least Josh Papalii, Felise Kaufusi, Christian Welch and Coen Hess have some Maroons experience behind them.

The interchange contains two more Origin debutants in Lindsay Collins and Jaydn Su'A but Ben Hunt and Jai Arrow are solid additions.

Only Papalii might secure a position among the forwards in the 2010 side but even he would have to dislodge Scott or Civoniceva.

Although agreeing that Queensland's 2010 side was full of "superstars", former Blues champion Bradley Clyde was reluctant to dismiss the Maroons' chances.

"I've seen it far too many times," said Clyde, who played 12 Origin games for NSW.

"The moment Queensland players put on that jersey they become different players.

"You look at this current side against the superstars of that 2010 team - which was part of that eight-year dominance. There aren't too many superstars in the current team but a good team will also beat a team of champions.

"I'd be very wary. NSW needs to concentrate on its own game and not look at any comparisons in player match-ups. If that only worry about themselves, I'm confident the points will take care of themselves."

Former Blues hardman David "Cement" Gillespie said: "It's not the best-looking Queensland side I have ever seen but write them off at your peril."

Queensland could make a late change by switching Gagai to ring wing, Kurt Capewell to right centre and dropping Sami.

If that happens, Gagai wouldn't be selected over 2010 wingers Boyd and Folau.

The bookies are giving Queensland little chance of success at Adelaide Oval. The Blues have been backed from $1.35 into $1.33 at TAB to defeat $3.30 outsiders the Maroons.

The Blues are also the commanding $1.25 favourites to win this year's series. The Maroons are $4 outsiders.

Originally published as Shocking evidence of Maroons' decline


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