As the Blues gear up for Game 2 of the State of Origin series, an old myth about the Maroons‘ ability to win in the final 10 minutes of the game persists. But is there any data to back it up? The Blues have their share of late wins, including James Tedesco‘s last-gasp try in 2019. And while Queensland has scored more points than NSW in the final 10 minutes since 1993, the difference isn’t as significant as one might think. In fact, in the past 10 years alone, the Blues have outscored the Maroons 77-54 in the final stretch. However, it’s the number of wins secured with points in the final 10 minutes that counts – and that’s where the Maroons have the edge. Since 2000, they have won or drawn nine matches in which they were behind or level inside the final 10 minutes, while NSW has won or drawn six.
According to sports psychologist Phil Jauncey, the myth of the Maroons‘ late-game heroics has become a self-fulfilling prophecy for some. “If you’re expecting bad things to happen to you in a game, as soon as you get a bit of evidence you think, ‘Here we go again’,” Jauncey says. “I think it’s great what Queensland did [in Adelaide], but in the game it’s almost an NSW problem.” NSW Legend Andrew Johns agrees, saying that the Blues need to improve their defence and “chase to get into a position” if they hope to turn things around in Game 2.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the Blues. Under coach Brad Fittler‘s leadership, they have scored more points than the Maroons in the final 10 minutes of matches since 2018. The team also has a reminder of their 2019 win in the form of four big black numbers in their gym. The numbers, 79:28, commemorate the exact time on the game clock when Tedesco scored the series-winning try, and serve as a reminder that a NSW comeback is always possible.
Ultimately, the question of whether Queensland always wins in the final 10 minutes comes down to perception. For Maroons fans, it’s a point of pride and an indication of their team’s never-say-die attitude. For Blues fans, it’s a source of frustration and anxiety. But both sides can agree on one thing – when it comes to State of Origin, anything can happen in the final stretch of the game.