The tide has turned in the Ampol State of Origin arena according to True Blue Steve Roach with Queensland now needing to score at least 20 points to have any chance of rolling the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues.
The Blues reclaimed the Shield this year after beating Queensland 50-6 in Game One in Townsville and 26-0 in Game Two in Brisbane. They were unable to pull off the clean sweep but came awfully close after losing Game Three 20-18 on the Gold Coast.
“The Blues are such a wonderful attacking side now you’ve got to score 20 points to beat them,” Roach told Behind Blue Eyes for nswrl.com.au.
“They remind me a bit of those great Queensland sides when they had (Greg) Inglis and (Billy) Slater and (Cooper) Cronk and (Cameron) Smith.
“I always thought in those days NSW would have to score those 20 points but now it’s on the flip-side because we’ve got so many great players in attack.”
Roach said while his highlight of the 2021 Ampol State of Origin side was the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues piling on 76 points to six in the opening two games, he had a big soft spot for the work of backrower Cameron Murray.
“His work rate and the cleaning up he did… and he went into the series handed the big job of handling David Fifita and he did it with ease,” Roach said.
“He used his speed and got off the line, with a wonderful tackle technique. For me watching that young kid come of age – and I know he’s played Origin before – but he’s now arrived as a stablemate in that side.
“He was absolutely outstanding.”
Roach said he criticism in some circles that NSW should have wrapped up the series 3-0 – on top of the darts thrown at halfback Mitch Moses who made his debut in Game Three after Nathan Cleary was ruled out with a shoulder injury – were way off the mark.
“The other side is desperate to stop the clean sweep… that’s why it’s so hard to get,” Roach said.
“At the end of the day with all the criticism about NSW should have won and that kind of thing, there was only two points in it.
“Then I read that Mitch Moses played the full game with a fractured back after being hit by (Felise) Kaufusi early in the game, in the first five minutes, and courageously played on – set up a couple of tries.
“People were saying ‘Well, he didn’t have any line breaks’ but his job was to get Tommy Turbo (Trbojevic) and Latrell Mitchell the ball.
“I thought he was pretty good and I thought the criticism was unwarranted.”