Maroons have no reason to be blue
QUEENSLAND captain Cameron Smith has poured cold water on the Blues' new-found swagger, pointing out the Maroons' domination of almost every statistic in Origin II.
While the NSW media and fans were quick to spruik the Blues' victory as a changing of the guard after six long years of Queensland supremacy, the facts showed the Blues were in many ways beaten in game two.
Queensland had more line breaks (3-2), made more metres (1590 to 1376), had more possession (53% to 47%), and NSW was made to make more tackles (375 to 320) and line drop-outs (6-0) and missed more tackles (41-40).
Beside the scoreboard, the only major statistics that ran in the Blues' favour were the errors (Queensland 13, NSW, 4) and completions (Queensland 33 of 37, NSW 31 of 41).
Smith said there would no fundamental changes to Queensland's game plan for the decider and it was just a matter of addressing the team's execution.
"We won all the stats, but we 'won' the error count too," Smith said. "If you don't have the football, you're always going to struggle.
"We made errors at critical times. We made a couple of errors on the last-tackle play in the first half, which in Origin is when you build a lot of your pressure.
"We came up with a big error just after half-time, dropping it on our own tryline the first set of the second half. And we made two big errors at the end of the game. We just dropped the ball when we should have caught it."
Smith added further perspective, pointing out NSW scored 12 of its 16 points in the 10-minute period in the second half when halfback Cooper Cronk was sin-binned for a professional foul.
The No.9 said he was not reading much into NSW's 16-12 victory at ANZ Stadium and it had failed to dent the Maroons' steely self-belief.
Since their six-year reign began in 2006, Queensland has clean swept the series only once and has been forced into a decider on five occasions (2006, '07, '08, '11 and this year.
"We've had a fair few deciders in the last six years," Smith said.
"After the loss we were disappointed, because I believe in these guys and they believe too.
"We gave ourselves a real good opportunity to win that game. We got ourselves back in the match - we fought really hard.
"We had 12 men for 10 minutes there and they scored two tries and a penalty goal, so they scored a majority of their points when we had 12 men.
"To come back from that was great, but we had opportunities at the end.
"We just had dropped balls and made the wrong play. But we didn't walk away thinking we have to change our whole game plan."
FACTS & FIGURES
Key Stats from Origin II
- Line breaks: Qld 3, NSW 2
- Missed tackles: Qld 40, NSW 41
- Total runs: Qld 1590m, NSW 1376m
- Possession: Qld 53%, NSW 47%
- Tackles: Qld 320, NSW 375
- Drop-outs: NSW 6, Qld 0
- Errors: NSW 4, Qld 13
- Completions: NSW 33/37, Qld 31/41