Origin 2

by Warren Boland

Will Origin 2, now a sell-out in front of 80,000 fans, be a series-winner for New South Wales or series-leveller for Queensland?

Much anticipated after the Blues won Origin 1 by 28-4, the two sides look much more evenly matched the second time around.

New South Wales with the same 17 have to perform at least as well, and add  a few variations because Queensland will have done their homework . Coach Kevin Walters says they can not stop Andrew Fifita but they aim to limit the damage he will do.

The revamped, new and improved, Queensland team will aim to get a faster start to sets, a stronger surge in the rucks, and quicker play the balls. Early on they may kick early in the set. They will strive for better field position than last time to allow them to put in more attacking kicks on the last tackle or to launch their talented backline from 20 or 30 metres out.

It is very hard to split the two teams.

Home ground, home-crowd, and powerful forwards in slippery conditions may give the Blues a slight advantage but the Maroons will be primed to seek revenge.

Of the debutants, I will be fascinated to see how well the huge, yet fast, Coen Hess performs. He sure knows his way to the try-line.

Here are more thoughts from me for ABC News  on the significance of this match :




Origin 1, 2017 – The halves and have-nots.

by Warren Boland

In the history of  State of Origin, the halves have been the key positions and even more now.

From Wally Lewis and Allan Langer to Peter Sterling, Brett Kenny and Steve Mortimer  crossing over to the era of Brad Fittler, Andrew Johns, Darren Lockyer, Jonathon Thurston and Cooper Cronk, there is a common theme of great halves and series victory.

Here is a link to a story I contributed to ABC News Online:


By the way, in terms of  halves and their record, it’s worth remembering that in 2014 when NSW won their only series in eleven years taking Origin 1 in Brisbane 12-8 and Origin 2 in Sydney 6-4, Cooper Cronk  broke his arm in the first ten minutes of the first game and missed the second. Daly Cherry-Evans took his place in both games.


It is not only about the players wearing numbers six and seven. There are many other factors to consider as to who will win Origin One:

-the absence of Matt Scott  and Greg Inglis through injury

-the non-selection of Billy Slater

-the ages of Nate Myles and Sam Thaiday – both 32 years old next month, and Jacob Lillyman, 33, not that age is affecting Cameron Smith, 34 next month, and Cooper Cronk, 33.

-the inexperience in Origin and jangling nerves of  Queensland debutants Dylan Napa and Anthony Milford, and New South Wales’ Nathan Peats and Jake Trbojevic making their first appearance.

-the return to Origin of Jarryd Hayne who was the spearhead of the Blues win in 2014

-the powerful form of Andrew Fifita and Boyd Cordner, not to overlook the impact of Matt Gillett in attack and defence

-the selection of  the competitive Nathan Peats instead of still skilful 33-year-old Robbie Farah and the representative retirement  of the 35-year-old warrior captain Paul Gallen who also was an inspiration for the Blues in 2014.


Some of the duels I am looking forward to :

-the clash of  young bulls Dylan Napa and David Klemmer while Nate Myles drops his horns into Andrew Fifita. The amiable build-up should be left in the dressing room as the cauldron bubbles to toil and trouble at kick-off.

-the impact off the bench of Michael Morgan for the Maroons and Jack Bird, Wade Graham and Jake Trbojevic off the bench for NSW.

-the combination of Blues five-eighth James Maloney with Jarryd Hayne at left centre and James Tedesco from fullback

-the combination of Maroon half Cooper Cronk with fullback Darius Boyd

-the biggest test yet of  rising star Milford


In the last three years the first games of the series have been tough, defensive, low scoring affairs. This could be due to nerves or combinations not yet perfected.

In 2014, New South Wales won 12-8 in Brisbane. In 2015 Queensland won 11-10 in Sydney and last year Queensland won 6-4.

Notwithstanding controversies over tries and disputed calls by referees and the bunker, rightly or wrongly, the loser will immediately face demands for change.

If Queensland loses Origin One, even by a narrow margin, expect immediate calls for the reinstatement of Billy Slater and for fresh blood in the forwards like Coen Hess and Jarrod Wallace.

Scrutiny of Jonathon Thurston’s rotator cuff before Origin 2 could escalate to levels not seen since Wally Lewis broke his arm before the 1990 Kangaroo tour.

If New South Wales puts in a good performance only to lose by just one or two points, the cries for sackings may be muted.

However a loss of anything over ten points by the Blues will be met with outraged demands for wholesale sackings.

Names like Paul Vaughan, Shannon Boyd, James Tamou, Trent Merrin, Matt Moylan and Dylan Walker will be whirling around like confetti.

Weekly Wrap 27/6/16

Winners by field goals in the NRL, a thrilling upset in the AFL, more tries but no cigar for the Wallabies,  calypso victory for the Justin Langer-coached Aussie cricketers and a breakthrough win in Moto GP for  Jack Miller.

Here’s your weekly wrap with Warren Boland including my opinion about Gus Gould’s opinion  on the Blues’ blues.

Running list:

  • 0.00 NRL including State of Origin
  • 18.10 AFL
  • 22.10 Rugby Union
  • 25.22 Moto GP
  • 26.57 Cricket

Weekly Wrap 7/6/16

The winners and losers in world of sport – Who’s on a roll and who’s not! – with sports broadcaster and former Wests NRL captain Warren Boland.

Part 1

Running list for quick access:

  •  0.00 Muhammad Ali
  •  2.02 NRL
  • 19.46 State of Origin
  • 24.40 AFL

Part 2

Running list:

  •  0.00 Tennis
  • 10.20 Netball
  • 11.25 Cricket
  • 13.10 Rugby Union
  • 14.20 Football
  • 17.01 Olympic qualifiers






Weekly Wrap 31/5/16

With State of Origin dominating and distorting the NRL competition, the Broncos and Cowboys crashed to earth while in the AFL, the winning streak of the Kangaroos and Giants came to a halt and the Cats hit the wall for the second week in a row.

They weren’t the only heavyweights in the world of sport to find it tough going.

Reliving a turbulent weekend of sport Warren Boland parachutes solo this week. (The missing half of this Abbott and Costello tandem skydive, Andrew Courtice, got tangled up at the back of the plane but should return soon to pull the ripcord).

Running list of topics for quick access:

  • 0.00 State of Origin
  •  3.05  NRL
  •  9.30  AFL
  • 14.26 Rugby Union
  • 18.42 Soccer
  • 19.17  Netball
  • 21.42  Formula One
  • 23.01  Cycling
  • 23.33   French Open Tennis

Weekly Wrap 23/5/16

What’s that feeling in the air?

Is it winter ? – No, not yet.

Is it duck shooting season?  Yes – but only in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

I’ll tell you varmints what it is.  It’s time for hunting cockroaches and canetoads. Yes, that crazy State of Origin fever has arrived for another year in New South Wales and Queensland  and all over the rugby league world.

Warren Boland and Andrew Courtice move to the edge of their seats to look at an action-packed weekend  and the first shots of Origin 2016.

Correction: In the chat  with Andrew,  I said former Maroon coach Mal Meninga had called for some fresh blood in the Queensland Origin side. My mistake – I overstated that impression. In the Courier Mail last weekend, Big Mal picked his team and stuck with almost all of the Maroon stars who won in 2015 including Nate Myles and Aidan Guerra though he conceded incumbent Dane Gagai could miss out for Kyle Feldt on the wing and he chose Josh Maguire (injured for Origin 3 last year) on the bench  instead of  Queensland stalwart Jacob Lillyman.

Running list of topics for quick access:

  • 0.00 State of Origin
  • 11.39  NRL
  • 19.04  AFL
  • 25.55  Super Rugby
  • 30.08  Jarryd Hayne
  • 35.05  Soccer – FA Cup
  • 37.33  Tennis
  • 39.33  Netball