• This weekend in the NRL focuses on the Women in League round (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Former rugby league star, Owen Craigie says the increased focus on Women in League is amazing, Queensland’s State of Origin setup has a cultural advantage and NSW got too cocky.
Owen Craigie

19 Jul 2017 - 1:02 PM  UPDATED 19 Jul 2017 - 1:02 PM

"Rugby league’s State of Origin is over for another year and Queensland have won it again.

I’ll come back to that really soon, but this weekend in the NRL is Women in League round and I think it’s great.

It’s such a big event now, especially at the Koori Knockout. I think it just gives all these young girls an opportunity of playing professional rugby league one day which they’re very close to doing. I think it’s amazing. I’ve got a daughter and one day she might play footy, who knows?

It’s just another opportunity out there for these young girls to go out there and shine and one day hopefully plays a professional sport and to play rugby league at the highest level.


State of Origin: NSW got complacent 

In terms of Queensland winning State of Origin, it just goes to show that one state’s got a culture and the other state’s still just playing football.

Queensland has got this amazing culture where as soon as they put that maroon jumper on, they become 10-foot tall soldiers and a couple of the people debuting, they all stood up and delivered the goods.

And that desire goes deeper. I’ve got friends and I’ve got mates that all live and play in Queensland and all they want, it’s a bit like people living in New Zealand – when they grow up they want to become an All Black. And the same thing with Queensland. All these young kids now, they wanna become Queenslanders, plain and simple.

"Just reach for the stars and make it what you want."

Because they’re successful and the players that they play, they’re picking blokes on performance and not on reputation. And I think that’s where the big difference is: NSW are picking people on reputation, not on performance.

There’s plenty to take out of taking your opportunities too. The prime example in Dane Gagai.

The Knights are about to get their third wooden spoon in a row and this kid’s just got Player of the Origin series.

There’s a great message there to go out there and just reach for the stars and make it what you want. No matter where you’re coming on the NRL ladder, Origin just goes to show that people shine on the big occasion and he’s shined every game.

Unfortunately for NSW, I think they got complacent. I think that because they won game one really well in Queensland, they thought that they’d won this series and just took their eyes off the prize. Now you hear of players being at the pub for eight hours, a couple of days before Origin. It’s just too cocky and I just think that Queensland just does the little things really well. They do the little things really well.

"They lost their direction, their focus and they let it slip."

The little things in life can apply to anything. If you’re building a house or you’re playing footy, whatever you’re doing you need to have preparation and time and you need to get yourself right mentally and physically.

And Origin’s a big job at hand. You’ve gotta prepare yourself and I just think that NSW took their eyes off the prize and got too complacent - they thought that they’d win this series easy.

That’s 11 out of 12 Series for Queensland now. Eleven out of 12’s pretty good. Over the last 12 Origins, the future for Queensland looks very, very, very bright.

For NSW, they need to blood new players, they need to give guys like Tyrone Peachey and James Roberts a go.

Brett Morris has just come out and said he’s retired from rep footy – he’s sick of playing for NSW probably.

They’ve got to start blooding new players. There’s an old saying: the hardest thing about making a NSW team is trying to get out of it when you make it. And it just seems that way.

I also think that there are too many individuals that play for NSW. In Queensland, they all play as a team. No matter if they come off the bench or not.

And the writing’s on the wall. Game one they played as a team, but after that, they got too cocky and it was just too many individuals trying to do too many different things. I think they lost their direction, their focus and they let it slip. They just let it slip.


Manly the 'quiet achievers'

For the next few months though, the focus goes back to the NRL.

I think Manly are doing really well but doing it as quiet achievers there and they’ve won the last couple of games in a row.

At the start of the year, there was talk of sacking Trent Barrett and things like that. But they’ve come along really well and I think that what really stands out for me at the business end of the season, teams are going to have injuries. And this is where it all matters and I think the Storm are gonna be hard to chase down and beat."

To hear more from Owen Craigie and for all of your rugby league news, tune in to Over the Black Dot on NITV at 9.30pm each Wednesday.

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