Queensland staring down worst nightmare

While you'd be a fool to write off the Maroons' hopes going into next Wednesday night's decider, given their proud Origin history, there's one statistic that can't be ignored.

The last time NSW fell into that trap, we handed over Greg Inglis. And look how that worked out.

Back then the Blues were coming off three straight series victories - and Mal Meninga came out and publicly declared if NSW won again, it would be the death of Origin.

"Based on what's happened in the past couple of years, the concept is in a little jeopardy," Meninga said in 2006.

"If you haven't got a successful Queensland side, I think the game is a little bit in jeopardy as well. There is a huge feeling out there that if Queensland is not successful this year, people won't support it (Origin). It's time for all Queenslanders to stand up and be counted."

Of course, Queensland won the next eight straight Origin series - with the kid from Bowraville going on to become one of the Maroons' greatest stars.

 

Queensland is on the brink of their worst rugby league season in 31 years.
Queensland is on the brink of their worst rugby league season in 31 years.

So taking that into account, they won't be getting Latrell Mitchell this time, even if they come begging.

And while you'd be a fool to write off Queensland's hopes going into next Wednesday night's decider, given their proud Origin history, there's one statistic that can't be ignored.

Given how poorly the three Queensland NRL clubs are travelling in 2019, it means the Sunshine State goes into this match staring down the barrel of its most embarrassing rugby league season in 31 years.

Because in every year since Brisbane entered the national competition in 1988, Queensland has either won the Origin series or at least had a team in the finals.

Queensland won Origin in 1988 and '89, while the Broncos played finals football in 1990 but not '91, although Queensland won Origin that year as well.

After that, the Broncos made every finals series until 2010, when Gold Coast carried Queensland's hopes into the playoffs.

The only other year Brisbane missed the finals was 2013, when North Queensland made the playoffs and Queensland also won Origin.

 

LISTEN! Matty is back with Finchy and Kenty to talk Origin teams, Sticky's best feuds, playmaker protection and the day Matty met Liam and Noel Gallagher.

 

 

 

 

As it stands, the Cowboys, Broncos and Titans are already next to no chance of making the playoffs heading into round 16.

Despite all three clubs entering this season with high expectations, the Cowboys and Broncos are both on 12 competition points and sit 13th and 14th respectively on the NRL ladder, while the Titans are 15th on eight points.

To make the top eight, the Broncos would need to win at least eight of their 10 remaining games (with 28 competition points usually the cut-off), while the Cowboys would need to win seven of nine (they have the bye this round) and the Titans all nine (they also have the bye this week).

Short of a miracle, it just isn't going to happen.

So it appears Queensland's only chance of avoiding unwanted history will be if the Maroons can somehow turn around the 38-6 flogging they copped in Perth.

With injury ruling out Kalyn Ponga, Brad Fittler's Blues are now the TAB's $1.38 favourites, the shortest price since 2004, while Queensland are paying a whopping $3.10.

It's hard to believe it was only five years ago former NRL chief executive Dave Smith was spruiking Queensland as the new "heartland" of rugby league.

With Anthony Seibold parachuted in to replace Wayne Bennett, Brisbane entered this season as one of the NRL's leading contenders.

In fact, it was Andrew Johns leading the charge of those who thought the Broncos could go all the way because of their exceptionally talented roster.

But instead, they have had a season to forget, thanks largely to Seibold throwing an axe through the joint as he tried to stamp his authority after Bennett's exit.

There is no question all the changes and uncertainty have absolutely shattered the confidence of the young playing group.

And the Cowboys aren't going any better.

Again, on paper, they simply should not be as low as they are. But there is something obviously wrong - and you'd imagine there will be some tough conversations in the coming months unless things vastly improve.

As there are at the Titans as we speak, with Meninga doing a full review of the football operations.

I spoke to Meninga about the plight of Queensland rugby league ahead of the decider.

 

Queensland players huddle after their loss to NSW in Perth. Picture: AAP
Queensland players huddle after their loss to NSW in Perth. Picture: AAP

 

Instead of turning on his fellow Queenslanders, Mal gave hope that the Maroons can turn it around on Wednesday night.

There is no one in rugby league who knows Origin better than Meninga.

"It is about everyone contributing to the best of their ability, in character more so than anything else.

"It is only that mental and emotional attachment that usually separates the teams.

"That is why Origin is so great. It is always 50/50, and it tests your character."

It is also worth noting Queensland have an unbelievable record when it comes to standing up in an Origin decider. Since 1982, there have been 19 deciders in total, with NSW winning just four.

But the fact is that if Queensland don't win, the Sunshine State will officially be in a sorry old state.

Not that you'd anticipate it is going to sadden anyone from NSW after all the gloating they have done in recent years.