The pre-match gibberish fits right into this era of over-communication and over-the-top media analysis of sport. Is it really necessary to think about every aspect? Why do so many people need to talk about one game before and after. This game is "important", though, should NSW wish to square the series, and if promoters wish to sell tickets to the final game.
The teams lined up during the anthem and gave away nothing about pre-match jitters, nerves or caffeine related shakes. There's a theory that teams wearing red have a psychological advantage over those they meet. This sort of thing, despite a terribly wobbly start by NSW, does not seem to be causing any trouble. A possible early try to QLD would bounce into an area that would be of no use to either team.
The first 10 minutes - arguably the most important minutes (if you're argumentative (or an idiot)) would see neither team showing anything wondrous with the ball, and would indicate that this match will be decided on defence or even lack of mistakes.
Minute 14 would see a baffling miracle of a try - Johns shaping to pass and instead kicking it to hit the base of the goal post for Minicello to scoop up and slide over the line. Simple and effective football. The only questions remaining: "Why does that need to be decided a by a video referee? Why doesn't that freak in the white have any stones of his own?" Because of the bollocking the officials get in the press. That's why they can't show the minerals and blow a goddamn whistle unsupervised.
17 minutes yields 8 - 0 to the Blues after a penalty for an idiot. Further minutes down the track and a rare penalty against NSW saw a run of play that would yield a QLD try: 8-6. This must have been the incentive that QLD needed: the realisation that they could actually score.
Until 33 minutes in, nothing really seemed to eventuate from any buildup. Errors would end any trip to the opposing try-line for both teams. It wasn't until Minicello would screw up big enough to allow QLD to score a try from 90 metres away off a Blues scrum. 8 - 12 QLD. Weak. The incompetence seemed to spread throughout the rest of the team as half time drew near, as another try was fouled up metres from the line. Kennedy seems to have a problem understanding the concept of "holding". CAN YOU INFLECT THE VERB 'GRIP' IN ANY OF ITS FORMS YOU RAGGED IDIOT? Two knock-ons in a tiny window is the worst way to complete the first half.
The second half began as the first ended, but this time it would be QLD to screw up 3 more minutes, or rather Minute 45 saw the next NSW try from Minicello thankfully hanging onto a ball to drag the scores up to 14 - 12 to favour NSW.
And seconds later, Menzies brought the score out to 20 - 12 with a forceful try and another Johns conversion. Thanks largely to opportunism and some handy QLD weakheartedness, NSW seemed to be getting the upper hand at this point.
Minute 53 almost saw yet another NSW try, which was negated by some thoughtless forward passing and saw the ball turnover to QLD.
Nothing interesting happened until Minute 59, when Gasnier found some space out wide and managed to offload to score a glorious try. Johns once again to convert and shift the score to 26 - 12.
Laziness and complacency led to a QLD try, with a desperate try to Bowen. At this point, it seems as though he's the only Maroon who still wants to play. No-one else has Spirit. Especially Smith, who failed to convert, and left the scores at 26 - 16.
Minute 76 heralded another try (score 32 - 16 after conversion), this time by Buderus. Set up by Johns; making the job easy. It's this point that the spectator asks himself "When did QLD leave the park?" The spectator also wonders why NSW bothered ringing Anasta and asking him to play, as for the entire game, he was invisible. It's for far wiser heads to understand why he was called up; plenty of up-and-coming other players could have easily have been as blindingly bland as he. Are the ARU seriously thinking about him? Has Kennedy got bollocks for brains?
32 - 22 isn't a bad score by any stretch. NSW seemed to deserve the score with which they finished. QLD failed as a team, for large portions of the 2nd half, largely eclipsing the NSW failures of the 1st. It seems that both teams have some thinking to to before the next match, if it's going to be a match based on skill.
Reviewed on Wednesday, 15 June 2005