NRL 2021: James Hooper, Jimmy Brings, Wayne Bennett, Paul Green, State of Origin, Queensland Maroons

NRL 2021: James Hooper, Jimmy Brings, Wayne Bennett, Paul Green, State of Origin, Queensland Maroons

So why didn’t Queensland throw $1 million at Wayne Bennett to try and convince the supercoach to remain in charge of the Maroons this year?

Of course the Cane Toads offered Bennett a contract after last year’s epic series win as “the worst Queensland team in 40 years”.

But the South Sydney coach knocked it back because he felt he owed the Rabbitohs his full attention for the final 12 months of his contract at Redfern.

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Could Bennett have stopped the landslide 50-6 scoreline against the Maroons in Townsville?


No Queensland side with Bennett at the helm has ever been flogged by 50 points.

The record shows the supercoach has won five out of the eight Origin series he’s coached and only been beaten by more than 12 points on seven occasions.

The most Wayne has ever lost by was when Phil Gould’s Baby Blues led by Joey Johns won 32-4 in Origin I in 2002.

Queensland Maroons Press Conference | 08:17

The vision of Bennett laughing and joking with the Queensland players after they were flogged in Origin II last year shows an insight into his genius.

With only seven days until Origin III, Wayne knew there wasn’t enough time for an epic blow-up to try and inspire the Maroons.

Instead he put an arm around them and got them ready to go out and win the series at Suncorp Stadium.

We’re about to find out just how good a coach Paul Green really is.

Because if Green can somehow plot levelling the series at Suncorp on June 27, he’s clearly got the coaching magic dust.

If not, he could find it hard to get another NRL job.

Can You Kick It? Now You Can With Jimmy Brings! Play Jimmy Kicks Now To Win.


Referee Gerard Sutton submitted a 10 out of 10 performance in Townsville but there were a number of incidents that would not have been let go in an NRL club game. Cameron Murray was wiped out late by Kyle Feldt with a blatant shoulder to the head but was only placed on report.

Referee Gerard Sutton had a good gameSource: Getty Images

Latrell Mitchell was whacked by Maroons prop Mo Fotuaika but escaped sanction. And Valentine Holmes collected Brian To’o in the head with his hip after the Blues flyer touched down in the corner – which would have been looked at for an eight-point try in any ordinary game. Still, for once we were talking about the athletic brilliance of the players rather than the refs – and it’s a wonderful thing.


The Maroons must be tempted to throw out a 17,000km SOS to State of Origin champion centre Greg Inglis in England.

Check the NRL team lists for a centre who might be able to contain Tommy Turbo in Origin II and it’s seriously slim pickings.

Will Chambers, maybe. Shift Val Holmes or AJ Brimson into the centres, maybe. Roll with Kurt Capewell again, maybe.

Greg Inglis makes a carry in Origin 2018Source: Getty Images

Or go for the Alfie Langer Hail Mary play from 2001 when Wayne Bennett famously brought Langer back to win the series.

Unfortunately with the Covid situation and necessary quarantine it was looking like a 100 to one shot that the South Sydney champion would be available.

Those odds got even longer with Inglis sidelined for the next two months with a hamstring issue.

Which is a shame. Because the return of GI would be one narrative guaranteed to set this series alight.

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When Latrell Mitchell was axed from State of Origin after game one in 2019, there was talk the South Sydney superstar may never play for Brad Fittler again.

And when the Roosters won the 2019 premiership, Mitchell doubled down by refusing to do an on-field interview with Freddy working for Channel 9.

‘Latrell showed the world he belongs’ | 02:22

Thank goodness Freddy and Latrell found a way to settle their differences – because Latrell’s combination with Tommy Turbo is now being labelled the greatest NSW centre pairing in Origin history.

There’s been some cracking combinations over the years. Steve Rogers and Mick Cronin, Andrew Ettingshausen and Laurie Daley, Brad Fittler and Mary McGregor.

But if Latrell and Tommy can string together a succession of series then there’s an argument they can be as good as Gene Miles and Mal Meninga were for the Maroons.


THE transformation in Blues superstar Tom Trbojevic’s performances since his sprint race down the Manly Corso is off the charts.

Talk about a brilliant advertisement for getting off the drink.

Tommy Turbo decided to ditch the booze in February after “slipping over in the shower” and has sworn off it until Manly are eliminated from this year’s NRL title race.

Turbo’s historic Origin hat-trick | 00:57

The “shower incident” happened the day after he’d been celebrating Sea Eagles teammate Brad Parker’s birthday and got involved in a match race up Manly Corso with a random bloke known only as “Harry”.

However Tommy Turbo did his hamstring, what’s not up for debate is how he and Nathan Cleary are now the two form players of the NRL and representative football.

If they both stay injury-free, the race for the Dally M Medal will go right down to the wire.

Can You Kick It? Now You Can With Jimmy Brings! Play Jimmy Kicks Now To Win.

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