With a historic State of Origin Series drawing to a close, we look at some of the big talking points, offer a few opinions and ask some questions in this episode of 20 thoughts.
1. Any suggestion that this is the most dominant New South Wales or Origin side of all time can, for now, be put to rest. They won the series in an early canter but losing the third game disqualifies them as far as I'm concerned. It is SO difficult to win three games.
2. Anyone who suggests Origin 3 means as much to the side sitting up 2-0 to the side without a win... Well, I just don't buy it. Queensland clearly wanted that win last night more than the Blues. That's not a shot on the Blues, they didn't need to win. The Maroons did. That's impossible to replicate.
3. NSW in Origin 1 and 2 were full strength and were untouchable. The gulf in quality between the Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai partnership and what ran out in Game 3 is enormous. Both Jack Wighton and Mitchell Moses are quality players but it's not comparable to the week-to-week understanding and class the Penrith combo have.
4. Kalyn Ponga is a genius footballer. He made the world of difference for the Maroons in Game 3. They really could have used that quality in the first two games, not that it would have made any difference in the series result.
5. It's ironic that the commentators made a huge deal about how not a single shot at goal (to that point) had been missed during the entire series, only for a literal match-deciding shot to drop short and be unsuccessful. You could have written the script.
6. You can't help but feel a little dejected as a Blues fan after last night. It was great to lift the shield but celebrating after a loss is far from ideal. Still fun, but the winning side should be given the option to lift the shield after a series-winning game.
7. NSW should not host three games next year. It's not like this was planned, or avoidable. They should 100% host two games however. First and third with QLD hosting the second. The interstate plan can be rested for one season.
8. Tom Trbojevic was my pick for man of the Series, although I'd have been just as happy if Latrell Mitchell had been crowned. Ironic that the two best players in the series were fullbacks playing in the centres.
9. Did Mitch Moses and Jack Wighton not realise Tommy Turbo was matched up against a player who had never played centre before in the top grade? The game seemed obvious yet for 35 minutes they didn't opt to use their strike weapon outside of the occasional cross-field kick. Ridiculous game plan.
10. Last season Cameron Munster was the best half across the three games, by a mile. This year I'd suggest he was the least influential regular half. Apart from the one try set up last night I honestly can't think of any other influence in the series. Very un-Munster like. Probably saving his brilliance for the Storm.
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11. Brian To'o was the breakout star of the Origin series. He was magnificent and a near lock to represent Australia if the World Cup proceeds. Holmes may pip him on reputation but To'o couldn't have done much more across the three games. Brilliant.
12. Ben Hunt is an elite level number nine. I still believe his best position is in the hooking role. Honestly cannot remember him playing a bad game in the nine.
13. In terms of Origin and Rugby League, last night's result was for the best. Another 40 point Blues win would have been awesome for banter but terrible for viewing and the series moving forward.
14. As well as Tedesco was playing in the decider, I really believe the Blues could have benefited from switching Turbo to fullback in that final ten or so minutes. Tedesco's running game was hard to contain but with the halves offering very little there was in theory three running ballplayers. They needed earlier shifts and it just didn't happen.
15. Moeaki Fotuaika is the greatest. I'm willing to say he was QLD's best across the three-game series.
16. If Billy Slater wants the job next year, it's his. Surely no one can place pure blame on Paul Green for the series defeat, however in every single camp something ridiculous went wrong and ultimately the coach needs to take responsibility for this.
17. Fair to say the new, faster rules and recent head knock crackdown had little to no effect on the Origin series. That said, Sutton over refereed Game 3 in a big way. I suppose if it's there you need to call it but you can't tell me he ignored incidents for two games only to crack down in the dead rubber.
18. As much as I enjoyed the end-of-year Origin series, in terms of pure Origin football, the mid-season format is far stronger in every aspect.
19. The team of the series was as follows: 1. Tedesco 2. Addo-Carr 3. Mitchell 4. Trbojevic 5. To'o 6. Luai 7. Cleary 8. Saifiti 9. Cook 10. Papalii 11. Murray 12. Sims 13. Yeo 14. Hunt 15. Fotuaika 16. Haas 17. Capewell.
20. As much as I love Origin, it's a huge disruption to the regular NRL season and truthfully I'm glad this will be the final Origin-affected round. The final third of the season now begins!