Sport

Beware the rag tags

Scott Powick - Daily News

WHEN I am asked to tip a score in a State of Origin match my mind wanders back to 1995, and a coporate function in Brisbane at which I was a guest speaker. It was the year no Super League-signed players were selected, which meant no Broncos, Raiders or Cowboys.

Queensland picked what could only be described as a rag tag team, coached by novice Fatty Vautin. Only five players from the previous year were eligible and rookie Ben Ikin was such a selection bombshell that Fatty initially barred him from the team room, thinking he was an autograph hunter.

When asked at the corporate function what I thought the result would be, I said Queensland would be smashed by 40 points. History tells us the Maroons won that match 2-nil, and went on to sweep the series in the biggest upset in Origin history.

Coached by Phil Gould, the Blues fielded rugby league luminaries of the ilk of Brad Fittler, Andrew Johns, Steve Menzies, Paul Harragon, Geoff Toovey and Terry Hill. But they scored just 28 points in the series.

With no disrespect intended, Queensland rode home on the back of nine debutants, including little-knowns Danny Moore, Tony Hearn, Terry Cook and Craig Teevan. My reputation as a footy judge took a well-deserved hammering that night and since then I have been more judicious with my predictions.

Having said that, I look at the two line-ups for the Origin opener in Melbourne on Wednesday night and honestly can't see how the Blues can win. My grey matter is not what it once was, but in 32 years of watching Origin I'm finding it difficult to recall a better-balanced team with as much strike power as this Queensland 17.

Sure there's no Darren Lockyer, but has Johnathan Thurston been in better form? And what about Greg Inglis, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Sam Thaiday, Ben Hannant and Dave Taylor? Even debutant Matt Gillett has been playing out of his skin.

The Blues have again abandoned their pick-and-stick policy. Only eight players remain from game three last year and Ricky Stuart has put his faith in a reformed bad boy (Todd Carney), a turncoat Kiwi (James Tamou) a debutant who has not played for eight weeks (Tony Williams), a hooker he never wanted (Robbie Farah) and a centre who last week played reserve grade for his club (Michael Jennings).

On that evidence alone, the Blues could well be described as a rag tag team, and on paper clearly inferior to the Maroons. On Wednesday night they should be hammered. But that's what I thought about Queensland in 1995.

Topics:  state of origin




Southern Downs council calls on locals for bridge names

BRIDGING THE GAP: Southern Downs councillors are calling on locals to help name four new bridges in the region.

Southern Downs councillors calls for community help to name bridges

Major announcement from Warwick Hospital today

Darling Downs Hospital and Health Board Chair Mike Horan AM announces a $3 million project to refurbish the Warwick Hospital emergency department.

Huge announcement for the Warwick Hospital.

Bikie Laws: MP compares bikie logos to burqas

Outlaw motorcycle gang colours and logos would be outlawed under the proposed changes.

"Are you going to become the fashion police?"

Latest deals and offers

Taylor Swift dismissed from jury duty

Taylor Swift was dismissed from jury duty in a sexual assault case

Zumbo's Willy Wonka hat trick trips up Queensland brickie

Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo with Zumbo's floating dessert in a scene from Zumbo's Just Desserts.

NOOSA'S Michael Basset asked to recreate floating chocolate dish.

John Lennon's killer denied parole for 9th time

John Lennon

John Lennon's killer has been denied parole for the ninth time.

Mexican band takes aim at Trump

Disguised as unhinged narcotraficantes, the Mexican-American agitators of BRUJERIA captured the mood of the citys minorities with the bands infamous and widely banned 1993 debut, Matando Geros (Killing White People), quickly becoming the Spanish-language counterparts to early grindcore masters TERRORIZER and NAPALM DEATH.  Photo Contributed

'Satanic drug lord' band challenges Trump

Willy Wonka star, Gene Wilder dead at 83

A still of Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Social media has already lit up with tributes to the late actor.

Gladstone couple's spontaneous Gympie Muster wedding

Craig Oglesby and Brenda Strong celebrate their wedding at the Gympie Muster with punters in front of the Main Stage.

The Gympie Music Muster was the perfect place for a wedding.

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd

Warning for unit investors with price plummet prediction

The warning signs are flashing for one real estate sector in 2017 despite others performing the best they have in years and it's not going to be pretty.

One real estate sector looks set for a rocky 2017

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m