Blues Origin celebration driven by years of pain

Will Hopoate, Michael Jennings, Daniel Tupou and Paul Gallen celebrate at full-time on Wednesday. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN
Will Hopoate, Michael Jennings, Daniel Tupou and Paul Gallen celebrate at full-time on Wednesday. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Utter relief. Absolute and utter relief.

I've been asked a little bit in the last 24 hours what it meant to finally wrest the Origin trophy back from Queensland - and it's hard to explain.

We all saw the pictures of Jarryd Hayne standing to attention in front of Blatchy's Blues; Josh Reynolds throwing himself into a sea of blue wigs - Laurie Daley running across ANZ Stadium uncontrollably and hugging anything in sky blue.

But I think it was just more relief than anything which triggered those emotions.

And you could see it in the way we played, too. It was a very nervy performance. Things never really flowed but we finally managed to do to Queensland what they'd been doing to us for eight years - doing a Queensland on Queensland if you like.

Just being in the Blues' sheds after full-time was a treat in itself. That inner sanctum, either after a State of Origin triumph, or grand final win, really is a special place on nights like Wednesday.

It was even more special to see young Alex McKinnon in the sheds celebrating with the players. If they couldn't draw inspiration out of his courage, then I don't know how anyone ever will.

Long after the 80,000-strong crowd had filed out of ANZ Stadium we all returned to the middle of the field in the dark for a couple of quiet drinks and a celebratory photo.

Almost as if to say this our patch. But what we have to remember is this NSW team has only laid down a marker for years to come. We can't be satisfied with one series win.

We all know every Origin match takes on a life of its own. We're 2-0 up but you think we're going to stop there?

How good would it be to say this NSW side not only toppled Queensland's dynasty but it also became the first Blues side since 2000 to win a series in a clean sweep?

Game III will be just as tense and just as exciting as anything we've seen in this series so far. And that's how Origin always should be.

We didn't dare mention it before game two but the prospect of having to go to Brisbane to seal the series would have been a nightmare.

Winning once a year at Suncorp Stadium is hard enough. Doing it twice? That's a downright scary proposition.

I just want to say a quick word on Loz to finish off. I've never seen someone put so much effort into their preparation for a series like this.

It's been said before, and he'll be too humble to take the credit, but the way he transformed things from last year to this year was remarkable.

He put his stamp on who was in the side, how the side prepared and ultimately how it played. His stamp should also be all over NSW's success too.

I'm positive he would be an outstanding NRL coach.


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