This was a one-off win by just four points. It didn't secure the series, it didn't change history - and it doesn't change my mind.

This is still the worst Maroons side in 40 years of State of Origin. So let's park the pro-Queensland hysteria.

State of Origin is built on sustained excellence, class and intensity - not a single win against the odds. This is about endurance - not a lone triumph.

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Subordinate sides can rise once, not twice. Class will eventually win through, as it has over 112 years of rugby league.

The Maroons shocked rugby league in Adelaide but don't be conned or duped - this side is the most inferior of any Maroons side dating back to Origin's 1980 birthdate.

There are NRL players and then there are State of Origin players. You don't become an Origin player via one upset victory in a foreign state during November.

This Queensland team is chock full of NRL players. They are bloody good footy players - tough, resilient and enthusiastic. But the Maroons lack fear and intimidation.


Remember Greg Inglis, Cam Smith, Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston, Darren Lockyer and Cooper Cronk? Go back further and recall Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga, Gene Miles, Allan Langer, Arthur Beetson and Gorden Tallis.

All legendary figures; frightening through their presence, rightly revered by decades of relentlessness.

Now we have players like Moeaki Fotuaika, Phillip Sami, Edrick Lee, Hymel Hunt, Xavier Coates, Patrick Carrigan, Josh Kerr, Lindsay Collins, Jaydn Su'A, Kurt Capewell, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Brenko Lee.

2020 Queensland Maroons State of Origin team training session. Dean Ritchie says they are still the worst team ever despite victory in game one. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
2020 Queensland Maroons State of Origin team training session. Dean Ritchie says they are still the worst team ever despite victory in game one. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT


I'm not taking individual pot shots - just questioning the level they are playing. They achieved something special in Adelaide … but do they have the mental and physical capacity - plus the natural ability and Origin potency - to back it up a week later?

I have severe doubts.

Yes, Origin I was a famous win. Queensland came from 10-0 behind after 20 minutes to win 18-14. Yet as meritorious as it was, Queensland's victory came more through NSW's poor second half and modest kicking game.


Queensland looked as shocked as NSW at full time. It was almost like they were saying: "How the hell did we do that?!'

Despite the game one loss, NSW still has what I would call a legitimate State of Origin side. It contains star power, speed and premiership-winning players which prompt anxiety and alarm.

NSW will win well in Sydney - probably by 12 to 16 points, maybe even more if it's a dry night. Origin is about the finest in rugby league shifting to another level throughout a three-game series, not the final 25 minutes of game one.

It's about a champion team knowing how to win pressure games. It's about fighting back when temporarily clobbered with a surprise obstacle.

Wednesday night was a one-off fairytale in Adelaide and good luck to Queensland.

Backing it up with a limited side will be the challenge. As they so often say in sport - form is temporary, class is permanent.

Adelaide won't be repeated in Sydney.


Originally published as This is still the worst Maroons team ever


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