The game started out as any other; the anthem, a whistle and then a kick. But what followed for about 10 minutes was some boring football. Nerves and wariness were written all over the face and neck of "origin newcomer" Minichiello, as every kick was aimed deliberately down his throat. Queensland managed to put NSW asleep to achieve their first try. And I guess it was a justifiable tactic; the most boring side shall emerge the victor.
A new stadium with new grass would, for some reason, see a lot of sand go into a lot of shorts. Annoyance multiplied by a factor of sweatiness, and constant rolling upon the ground.
Two quick NSW tries to Minichiello and some really badly packed scrums found NSW once again in the lead 12 - 6, as even more sand magically disappeared from the turf and into the shorts of the massive. I was told there was a difference of 9 kilograms between the teams, in Queensland's favour. Would this make any kind of difference? This statistic and others like it were thrown about all night by Channel9, as they tried to impress the easily impressed, and baffle the stupid.
31 minutes is when Queensland started looking haggard and playing like a wretched dungpile. Gordon Tallis using his forearm to inflict damage and discomfort to NSW faces. The man's head is rather large; possibly out of proportion to his body. "There's a lot of forehead there", The Girl had insisted.
Hard to argue with statements such as that.
All conversation on the matter ceased as Queensland looked primed to score, but Gee choked horribly when the time came to put the ball over the line.
At 12-12, Queensland seemed to be forcing their way back into the game, and a conversion to the commentary of Roy & HG proved to be a wise decision.
NSW began to get excited and not look where they were running; head down and into tight corners. Queensland began a process of improving defence, block NSW raids on their sensitive scoring zone. But such fortitude can only last so long, as a 3rd NSW try probed through a rotting defence. The points were not so surprising as gaping holes were present both left and right.
About 3/4 into the match and NSW seemed to be taking control. Scorelines aside, they seemed to be the team who weren't afraid to run, while Queensland seemed to be directing their efforts into losing steam and playing badly.
Both teams started to increase the errors/minute ratio as hands and minds slowed from tiredness. After some scrambling defence in the 69th minute, NSW managed to get the ball to the other end of the field and take the safe option of the drop goal. Safe indeed, but enough to take the lead beyond Queensland's feeble reach.
An arrogant try by Johns shortly after seems to put the nails in the Game Cake. Thus, the game was sealed at 25-12 in the favour of NSW.
A gritty, sandy kind of game where there were more losers than winners, especially in a large stadium like Suncorp.
Man of the Match, Mr Bailey (I'm not sure which Bailey, I was looking at something else when a voice told me to "listen to the poorly articulated swine on camera") showed signs of multiple head injuries in his acceptance speech.
Reviewed on Wednesday, 11 June 2003
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