• Owen Craigie called it weeks ago —NSW Blues dominate this years' State of Origin (NITV)Source: NITV
Premiership-winning player and Over the Black Dot co-host Owen Craigie describes NSW Blues player Latrell Mitchell —"People aren't supposed to move like that!"
By
Owen Craigie

26 Jun 2018 - 2:23 PM  UPDATED 26 Jun 2018 - 2:23 PM

Where to start after a weekend like that!

I think it’s fair to say the standalone representative round was a massive success.

That was some big footy on the weekend and on Sunday evening, 84,000 people at ANZ Stadium. It was an awesome game.

Once again we get to witness some great footy and Latrell Mitchell scored again and so did Josh Addo-Carr, aka: The Foxx.

Latrell Mitchell’s a superstar and is born for the big stage. The scary thing is he's only 21.

When he’s in the game, you can’t keep your eyes off him. Anywhere on the field he’s dangerous. We saw it with the short ball when he scored over Will Chambers and he bumped him off. The kid is only going to get better and the intimidating thing for oppositions is that he can get better.

He’s tall, he’s more than six foot, he’s 107 kilos. People are not supposed to move like that!

Elsewhere in Origin II, I think that penalty try to Boyd Cordner for NSW was interesting. You don’t see penalty tries too often, but that was a dead-set penalty try.

Regardless of all of the controversy and debate about it, NSW secured the State of Origin shield and I reckon we’re seeing the start of something fairly special.

We’re starting to see the changing of the guard now and Queensland had their run, so I think Blues are well on their way to having a good couple of years.

We’re starting to see the changing of the guard now and Queensland had their run, so I think Blues are well on their way to having a good couple of years.

I think we’ve seen now too in the last two games that NSW have been competitive and scored points. They’re taking some risks and chances and it’s paying off.

They’ve just got to go into game three with the same attitude and not be complacent that they’ve already won. Because it would be even more special to win this series 3-0.

 

It's all one love 

Friday night was special too with the first Women’s State of Origin match. They’ve played games dubbed as interstate matches and it’s a fitting step to make it officially a State of Origin clash.

That was a great game too on Friday and could have gone either way, but NSW took their chances and it paid off.

It was a high-quality game and some of the spiral passes, left to right, and the chip and chases and the kicks and some of those women have got better skills than the blokes.

What such a great weekend of rugby league does is it also sets up for an incredible second half of the season, and I can’t wait.

The game’s growing, it’s getting bigger, it’s getting better. We see the women coming and playing now and it’s great for these young girls that want to play professional rugby league —they can now, they’re the idols.

I think it’s pretty amazing.

The game was also supported by the great work from the NRL on social media.

Vanessa Foliaki from NSW and Karina Brown from Queensland, who are in a relationship, embraced after playing against each other in the Women's State of Origin, and the NRL shared the moment on Twitter. 

After copping a bit of abuse, the league rightly defended it and stuck up for their decision, as well as the players themselves.

It's exactly the right way to go about it, because it's all one love.

We as Indigenous people, we embrace any culture and at the end of the day, once again rugby league’s leading the way in all different communities. I fully support gay marriage and I’ve got family members who are in the same boat.

Everyone's entitled to their belief, but you’re not gonna fit into society with abuse, it’s 2018. 

If you want to live back in 1960 and 1970, then stay there. At this point in time in life, I’ve got kids, we've all got kids, the community is growing and we need to evolve with the world, it’s one love.

 

Who's going to stand out and shine? 

In the NRL it’s the most important part of the season for a lot of these clubs because of representative time and injuries. So this is where we really see now in this top-eight, who’s really going to stand out and shine?

For NSW, I think they’ll embrace the hype and their excellent performances so far.

And by embracing it you learn, you reflect, you grow and you become stronger and smarter.

At the highest level of rugby league, embrace it and enjoy it because you never know when you’re going to be back there again. These boys are playing with confidence and they’re scoring tries. Let them keep going. Freddy Fittler’s doing an amazing job.

 

Owen Craigie is a Gamilaroi man and former NRL star. Owen has played for the Newcastle Knights, Wests Tigers and South Sydney Rabbitohs. He is co-host of NITV's weekly Rugby League panel program, Over The Black Dot.

For more Owen Craigie and Rugby League hot topics, tune into Over the Black Dot, live tonight at 8pm on NITV (Ch. 34). Join the conversation #OverTheBlackDot