Despite the series being decided, there’s still so much to look forward to.
We all love a good game of footy. We know the series is won by the Blues, but at the end of the day we’re still waiting for that next freakish player to do something special that we can talk about the day after.
Also, we want to discuss who from Queensland and NSW are going to make the Australian team? Kalyn Ponga’s one of those players and it's is a big loss for the Knights and for Queensland, even though NSW have won the series.
What stands out for me most though ahead of Origin Game III is that Queensland picked Daly Cherry-Evans and they overlooked Ashley Taylor. Ash Taylor’s been carrying the Titans all year and he put on a beautiful display at Leichardt Oval on Sunday, beating the Tigers at Robbie Farah’s homecoming.
If you look at all of the try assists and line breaks and kicks in play – it’s all Ash Taylor. Why would you pick Daly Cherry-Evans?
Why would you overlook an in-form halfback? I know Daly Cherry-Evans is a good player, but at this point in time in his career, he’s not in the same league as Ash Taylor. I think Taylor’s ready to go —give the kid a shot. It’s not a case of the series being over that you just start handing jerseys out either.
You put Ash Taylor out there and he might be one of the best in next year’s series if he plays well and beats NSW. You don’t know. Daly Cherry-Evans has been there and done it, but I don’t agree with Queensland picking Daly him. If anything, I think they’ve actually gone backwards by picking him.
Daly Cherry-Evans has been there and done it, but I don’t agree with Queensland picking Daly him. If anything, I think they’ve actually gone backwards by picking him.
If you’re looking at million-dollar players, Ash Taylor’s actually playing like one. He should have been given a shot and this is the perfect opportunity now to do it. He’s got under-20s payer of the year and he’s been at the Titans the last couple of years. And he’s having a dig and playing well at the Titans.
He’s lacked his share of quality players around him but his performance speaks louder than words. He’s actually out there and he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing. Setting up tries and getting the wins for the Titans.
Silly Season at the NRL
Looking more broadly in the NRL, I think that it’s silly season again now. Manly going out and beating Penrith —Manly’s been really struggling but Origin season’s going to put a big dint in lots of teams.
A lot of teams are down on troops, and so now’s the time that can catch a lot of people unaware. We really saw that the other night. Parramatta, with 10 minutes to go, were in front by 10 points. The Dragons folded, but were able to come back.
The Melbourne and Roosters game is another example —the Rep Season is gonna take its toll on a lot of players and there could be a few points there for the lower teams out of the top eight. In my eyes, the top eight is set, but what we are seeing right now, I don’t think there’s going to be any difference at the end of the season.
Most of the other teams that are out of the top eight now, can concentrate on being injury free and trialling a few young players. It’s the right time to do that and work on some combinations and partnerships for next year.
Some teams will be thinking about sending a few boys near retirement off in style, because they’ve only a got a few rounds left in the season.
If you’re out of the top eight you can assess how well you’re doing this year and see where you need to make changes. This is the perfect time of the year to blood some of the younger guys in your clubs, right now if you’re outside that top eight.
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