Ben Hunt is one of the Maroons targeted by the
Ben Hunt is one of the Maroons targeted by the "baggers” following Queensland's State of Origin series loss. DAVID MOIR

Maroons' loss brings out the worst in some

REMEMBER the good old days when patriotic Queenslanders - in particular the media - would not criticise their own?

It was a badge that Maroon supporters wore with pride as their NSW counterparts incessantly bagged the besieged Blues.

But those loyal Queenslanders have, seemingly, jumped off track of allegiance.

After just two series losses in the past 13, the baggers - in the news and on social media - are displaying their true colours.

The knives have been drawn and rookies Ben Hunt, Jarrod Wallace and Andrew McCullough are the hapless targets.

Fact - last Sunday, Queensland lost its second Origin series since dominating from 2006. That makes the tally 11-2.

Fact - both teams scored three tries in the 18-14 win by the Blues, with Valentine Holmes landing one of his three sideline conversions. James Maloney kicked all three.

Fact - the game was in the balance until the death.

Fact - in games one and two of the series, NSW was the better side.

Okay, so Hunt and McCullough didn't handle the 10- minute period when the Blues were down to 12 men last Sunday night with the same aplomb of past masters Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston. But seriously, did anyone ever imagine they would?

Jarrod Wallace managed to gain only 41m in State of Origin II, but he had big shoes to fill. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Jarrod Wallace managed to gain only 41m in State of Origin II, but he had big shoes to fill. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

And Wallace may not have churned through the metres like Sam Thaiday, Nate Myles or Matt Scott. But did anyone think he would?

In the 13-year period since the Maroons started their recent Origin domination, many big names have come and gone. But the loss of the brainpower, class, smarts and trick shots of Smith, Thurston and Cronk - at the same time - is akin to removing the engine from a Ferrari.

The time was always going to come when that champion trio would retire, and the time was also going to come when the Blues would hit the jackpot.

Brad Fittler's new broom has worked a treat and NSW supporters have been swept up by Freddie's magnificent Royal Flush.

Irrespective of which side of the border our allegiance may sit, no red-blooded supporter of the game could not have been blown away by the sea of blue at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.

Queensland fans do not hold a divine right to passion.

The result in Sydney was good for the series, good for the game and certainly good for the NSW supporters who have hung in during the tough times. Those who stuck solid through a lengthy drought have finally been repaid by a coach and team that are very easy to like.

But losing the series doesn't suddenly make Queensland poor. And Kevvie Walters and his Maroon selectors know that.

Sticking solid has been Queensland's mantra since the Origin idea was launched 38 years ago and the three wise men will tread that same road for game three. It's hoped Hunt, McCullough and Wallace have learned from the losses in games one and two and are retrained to also tread that road again.


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