Fantastic ... but far from the days of old
WEDNESDAY night's State of Origin had the hallmarks of a great NSW comeback ... until those bloody Queenslanders ruined the party.
Besides the unfortunate result, nobody could argue that this Origin wasn't indeed a fantastic match, but was it the 'greatest', as per the claim on Channel Nine afterwards?
Modern Origin games just can't compare to the old gladiatorial match-ups of the 80s and early 90s.
League's administrators have to take some of the blame for this.
In an effort to speed up league in the early 90s, the 10-metre rule was introduced, pushing defences further back.
This did indeed speed the game up, but it also nullified the brutal collisions that were the hallmark of Origin.
Such 'controlled violence' was the appeal of the first decade of Origin.
Quite simply, the game has become so fast that players have become smaller, because they need to be faster and fitter.
They also can't shoot out of the line in the hope of a making massive tackle, in case they leave a hole in the defensive line.
Don't get me wrong, Origin is still the toughest football going around.
But I don't think it's as tough as it used to be.
? STEVE SPINKS