FLAT out embarrassing.
With the State of Origin series tied at 1-1, on the back of two low scoring, tight results, Queensland has delivered a monstrous hammering of the highest order against bitter rival New South Wales at Suncorp Stadium, cantering to a 52-6 win in game three to take the title back from the Blues.
But, in the wake of the shocking performance just hours ago, Sportsbet.com.au, for some reason, has installed the Blues ($1.87) as favourites to win next year’s title.
That’s right, a side that was just crushed in a cut throat decider by 46 points is favoured to bounce back and win it next year, the bookie’s Christian Jantzen said.
Despite tonight’s sublime performance to win the series, Queensland finds itself the $1.93 outsiders in 2016.
“Yes, we are actually serious,” Jantzen said.
“Some will think we’re crazy having NSW as favourites after tonight’s result, but with games one and three to be played in Sydney next year, the Blues will have every chance to exact revenge.
“But, in the mean time, there’s a bit of soul searching to do.”
Soul searching might be the understatement of the century as an ice cold Blues side produced one of the worst performances in a state of origin decider ever.
It was a record winning margin for the Maroons in a State of Origin match and gave them their ninth win from the last 10 series, re asserting Queensland’s recent dominance of the traditional state versus state competition.
Bizarrely, New South Wales scored the first points of the match, converting from the tee to give them a 2-0 lead after Justin Hodges, in his final game for the Maroons, knocked the ball on.
But Queensland took the lead at the 16 minute mark of the first half and never let it go.
The Maroons led 22-2 at half time and continued the humiliation after the break, Johnathan Thurston just adding to his legend with a record nine goals, going perfect from his nine attempts.
Hodges made up for his earlier error, finishing on a massive high by converting the final points of the match with a kick in the 79th minute, amid jubilant scenes.
The stats are so lopsided, you’d think one side was missing a couple of men.
Queensland had 42 sets to New South Wales’ 25, completing a whopping 37 of them to the Blues 16. New South Wales was forced to make a massive 341 tackles to Queensland’s 194, missing 26 of those to the Maroons’ nine, and the northerners made 15 off loads to the Blues’ five.
Incredibly, the Maroons had eight individual try scorers during the romp.
Star Corey Parker was again a monster for the Maroons and was fittingly named man of the series.
He won the Wally Lewis Medal after three monster games, including 22 tackles, 14 hit ups and five off loads tonight.
He put the spoils of victory on the shoulders of the adoring Queensland crowd, which turned out in force to watch their boys romp to the massive win.
“We didn’t do this on our own tonight, we did it for the state of Queensland,” Parker said.
“The support we’ve had since game two has been phenomenal.
“To get the shield back on home soil is something special.”
The night started on a negative for the Blues, with talisman Robbie Farah ruled out after failing to come up from a broken hand he suffered while playing for the Wests Tigers, replaced in the line up by Michael Ennis – who made 49 tackles in a great performance.
And it just got worse from there.
Bad for the Blues, very good for the Maroons, who gave coach Mal Meninga the sort of birthday present he would have been hoping.
Meninga celebrated his 55th birthday in style with the huge victory and says his team has been historically good over the past 10 years.
“It’s an extraordinary team over the last decade,” Meninga said.
“And their enthusiasm and commitment is still there – they are great competitors.
“(But) history will make those judgements.”
And while Meninga celebrated, Blues coach Laurie Daley was left to lament, his side tortured by their opponents.
“That was embarrassing,” Daley was heard to say as he left his coach’
While the win was massive, it was overshadowed by the huge support for Maroons captain Cameron Smith, after he suffered a hatchet job at the hands of Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes on Sunday night.
Smith, criticised by former Newcastle player Alex McKinnon for his actions following the jarring moment when Knights forward was left a paraplegic, was backed in by the dignitaries across the rugby league world.
One fan even brandished a ‘Rise for Cameron’ banner, playing on the ‘Rise for Alex’ campaign that Smith had championed in the wake of McKinnon’s injury.
McKinnon was insensed by Smith claiming he had contributed to his own injury by ducking his head and questioning of the penalty, while he lay there in serious trouble, but NRL boss Dave Smith came out in support of the Melbourne Storm star.
“Cam is a thoroughly decent human being,” Smith said.
“He has done so much for the game.
“Everybody in rugby league regrets what happened that night.
“Everybody would take that back.
“Cam Smith is one of the great guys of the game and does so much for people less fortunate than himself.
“He’s a terrific bloke.
“He’s made a great contribution to our game.
Smith, he Maroons captain, said his side had been determined to atone for their defeat at the hands of New South Wales in Melbourne last month and ensure they wrested the coveted origin series back north of the border.
“Coming off a pretty difficult loss in Melbourne, our game two wasn’t the best by our standards,” Smith said.
“We had to be brutally honest with our review at the start of this week.
“I think it shows the quality of this side and the way we all played for each other and stood up for each other … it’s quite a proud moment.”
2016 State of Origin Series Winner
New South Wales Blues ($1.87)
Queensland ($1.93) @ Sportsbet.com.au – thoroughly recommended!
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