Queensland took full advantage of New South Wales' disarray in the wake of the Andrew Johns affair by inflicting one of the heaviest defeats in State of Origin history. Mal Meninga's Maroons clinched a record fifth series in a row with a 34-6 victory in Brisbane yesterday – and it was the players insulted by Johns who did much of the damage.
Johns resigned from his role as NSW assistant coach after Timana Tahu walked out of the squad's camp in protest at Johns using racially abusive language about the Queensland backs Greg Inglis and Israel Folau. The pair had the last laugh as a try each in the first 10 minutes put their state on course for victory.
Team-mates revealed that the Queenslanders had used the racial slur as motivation, but Inglis would only talk briefly about that aspect in a television interview after the game. "I was pretty upset about it and I was quite disappointed," he said. "But that's all I want to say about that." Johns has expressed his remorse over the matter and has already lost another job with the cancellation of his newspaper column.
The effect of the whole business on the NSW team was plain to see at Lang Park. After going 10-0 down early, they conceded another try to Darius Boyd before half-time. Willie Tonga, Folau again and Cooper Cronk made it a rout in the second half, before Brett White prevented a white-wash with a late try for an outclassed NSW. The match was notable for a number of outbreaks of fighting.
Bradford have confirmed that their big signing this year, the Australian scrum-half, Matt Orford, will miss the rest of the season following surgery on his shoulder. Orford suffered the injury in the defeat by Crusaders at Murrayfield and attempted a comeback against Warrington in the Challenge Cup two weeks ago.
The Bulls coach, Steve McNamara, described that as "very courageous" but said that Orford had now bowed to the inevitable. "It's a huge disappointment," he said. "He's a proud man and he wanted to see the season out, but the reality is that his shoulder is shot."