Even Wally couldn't have saved Qld: Ikin - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Even Wally couldn't have saved Qld: Ikin

By Wayne Heming 22/05/2008 06:03:37 PM Comments (0)

Former Queensland State of Origin five-eighth Ben Ikin says the Maroons would not have won Wednesday night's opening game even with Wally Lewis in the No.6 jumper.

Queensland selectors were under fire amid claims they messed up by selecting fullback Karmichael Hunt at five-eighth ahead of Gold Coast halfback Scott Prince.

While Maroons legend Allan Langer preferred to see Wednesday night's effort as an off night, Ikin said the halves were not the main problem.

"It wouldn't have mattered if you'd had Wally Lewis in that position, he couldn't have done much different because of the lack of go-forward and creativity and effectiveness Queensland had through the middle area of the field," Ikin said.

The youngest player to pull on an Origin jumper when he played the first of 17 games in 1995 under Paul Vautin, Ikin said Queensland had played too one-out and deserted coach Mal Meninga's game plan.

"It doesn't matter if Scott Prince plays last night, the cold hard facts are Queensland played boring and predictable football through the middle," he said.

"We didn't play direct enough and we were too one-out.

"It didn't matter who was in the halves, they were never going to have the time or space they needed off the back of some good go forward.

"Every time we did go wide it was off the back of limited go forward, they just shut us down because they were all set.

"The blame for that rests on the shoulders of Smithy (captain Cameron Smith) and his forward pack.

"I know it's not sensational news to talk about it that way.

"I know they want to call for Queensland's blood and I'm hearing stories about selectors getting it wrong and all that caper but I'm totally against all that talk."

Champion halfback Langer said he'd leave the issue of whether Prince was called up to the selectors.

"It wasn't our best performance," Langer told AAP.

"NSW were hot on the night, they played great and that happens.

"They just out-enthused us."

Prince will have two games - the second against Cronulla featuring NSW man-of-the-match Greg Bird - to change selectors' minds.

There's also a possibility long-serving prop Steve Price could make an 11th-hour bid to play, which could mean a forwards reshuffle with Carl Webb and Ben Hannant vying for a bench role.

Tough Sydney Roosters forward Nate Myles put forward a tempting case for a starting role in Origin II, beating Petero Civoniceva to Queensland's player-of-the-match award.

Ikin said Origin was so mentally and physically intense that sometimes when things didn't pan out it was easy for a side to lose their way.

"What Queensland dished up last night wasn't what they practiced during the week and they'd be the first to admit it," said Ikin.

"They never gave in, but when you play dumb it can often look worse than what it really is and that's what they did through the middle.

"They'll have a look at where they went wrong and I think you'll see a much better Billy Slater, JT (Johnathan Thurston) and Karmichael Hunt than you saw last night."

Ikin said Brisbane wouldn't be keen for regular Maroons five-eighth Darren Lockyer to rush back for Origin II - but that might not stop him if he thinks he can play.

"There's a difference between what the Broncos would want and what Lockyer would want," Ikin said.

"I'm assuming he would have been walking up the walls of the coach's box last night and that's a question only he can answer.

"But if he's not fit, I'd leave Karmichael at five-eighth and bring Prince on the bench.

"That way he could come on at halfback, Johnathan Thurston could move to five-eighth and Karmichael could play that roving role of a second fullback/lock through the middle."

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