WE’VE seen plenty supposed changing of the guard moments in State of Origin over the years.
There was Trent Hodkinson’s show-and-go to seal game two and the Blues first series in nine years in 2014. It was such a breakthrough it started talk of a Paul Gallen statue at ANZ Stadium.
Cooper Cronk returned after breaking his arm in game one to orchestrate a flogging in game three. Kick-off was there at the MCG for game two that season where, in front of 91,000 people, Queensland’s dominance was supposedly snapped – for real this time.
NSW were to young, too big, too slick; a dominant run of their own seemed imminent. Mitchell Pearce even thought the time was right to give Jonathan Thurston some curry.
What happened next was a 52-6 flogging at Suncorp Stadium. Thurston starred that night. Now he has his old mate Billy Slater back as well. Their aura alone will lift Queensland. NSW were great in game one, but they’ll need to be a whole lot better in game two.