Scale of Queensland’s challenges during State of Origin series hid significant hurdles NSW had to face


Dynasties are nice, but have you ever tried winning a State of Origin series with a bunch of nobodies with busted bodies?

Before you start throwing rotten fruit at your own computer screen in protest, yes, the “worst ever” tag that was lumped on this year’s Queensland team was too much.

Considering they hadn’t played a game at the time it was effectively dished out, the comparison could only be based on the names in the team.

The contradiction of the tag’s timing is amplified by the fact the other team that could be said to be less impressive on paper was Paul Vautin’s fabled 1995 Maroons, but they won the series 3-0, so they can’t be the worst ever.

Of course, nor can this one, unless you’re willing to concede, by the transit of property, that the Blues too were at the lowest ebb in their history.

But that’s not how any of this works, as evidenced by the Origin mythology built on a myriad of Queensland sides that beat higher profile NSW teams, so making the claim as such an absolute can only be hyperbole.

The fact is, this was an incredibly diminished crop of Maroons that beat a less diminished bunch of Blues.

Both teams, largely by virtue of playing an end-of-season series, looked completely different at the 2020 trophy ceremony compared to 2019. And not just because a different team was celebrating.

The impact of James Tedesco’s concussion on Game III can’t be understated.(AAP: Darren England)

Queensland only had six carry-over players from the team that turned out for the 2019 decider, but the Blues had just eight. And once James Tedesco was knocked out in the first half, only seven. Hardly a measure of consistency for the reigning champions.

As always, though, the view from 30,000 feet doesn’t show all the intricacies.

It seems a lifetime ago, but the Maroons only had their coach confirmed during the finals, while he was still in charge of the Rabbitohs’ run to the preliminary finals.

The loss of Xavier Coates a day before the decider, replacing him with a feast-or-famine winger like Edrick Lee. That precipitated a centre reshuffle — trading recently injured utility forward Kurt Capewell for what turned out to be a still injured Brenko Lee — which is the sort of thing that can demolish a team’s structures on both sides of the ball.

Edrick Lee dives forward with his tongue out as two Blues players appeal in the background
Seeing number 19 on a jersey (Brenko Lee was number 21) is a sure sign of some late rejigging.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

But the Blues didn’t have a chance to exploit that because the Queensland forward pack — which blooded seven rookies in the series — somehow recovered from the shellacking it received in Sydney, and the halves — perfectly balanced with sturdy captain Daly Cherry-Evans and superstar Cameron Munster — executed with precision on the back of it.

Of course not every millimetre of the series was sprinkled with the Wayne Bennett pixie dust.

Corey Allan played like a fourth-choice fullback in his Origin debut; Jake Friend looked like he was already resigned to Harry Grant taking his spot; and Felise Kaufusi’s tendency to all too often pick the most foolish course of action in close games could cost him a Maroons jersey going forward.

A week earlier, Phillip Sami and Coates were pounded by Nathan Cleary’s sleight of foot and in both the games they won the Maroons were fortunate NSW didn’t get one last play at a 12-man line-up.

Daly Cherry-Evans holds up the State of Origin shield as columns of fire explode behind him.
Daly Cherry-Evans is a perfect foil to the herky-jerky brilliance of Cameron Munster.(AAP: Darren England)

Queensland also lucked out that the Blues shied away from changing their winning 17 to include Ryan Papenhuyzen on the bench, which would have been worth its weight in unobtainium when Tedesco went down.

Regardless, Games I and III went the way of the apparently broken-down team, and chalking it up to Queensland spirit does them a disservice.

Parallels with 2017 series

Like the last time Queensland won a series, in 2017, and did so with an injury-hit side, the 2020 team rose above their station and the selectors’ faith was repaid on the field.

That year, with a winner-takes-all decider looming, the powers that be took a punt on Munster, who had only recently been shifted to five-eighth from fullback and had played just a handful of games with the six on his back.

In response, he played the game of his life, in possibly his best Origin performance until Wednesday night’s masterful effort.

This year, as Munster was busy being the leader everyone three years ago was hoping he would become, Grant was playing the role of 2017 Munster.

Harry Grand kneels on the ground with both hands up above his head
With the benefit of hindsight, it’s wild that Harry Grant even waited this long for an Origin debut.(AAP: Darren England)

When Grant got on the park, with the hindsight goggles on, it became hilarious that he hadn’t been picked in the first two games.

Going forward it will just be another interesting wrinkle in his Origin story, as he and Munster lead the Maroons for the next decade.

Next year Kalyn Ponga should be back. And David Fifita too. Grant will start the series and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui will be another year advanced after his breakout season.

By the same token, consider how things could have changed this year and will next year with Tom Trbojevic in the NSW backline, Cameron Murray playing more than one hit-up, or with Boyd Cordner and Tedesco making it through the series without serious concussions.

Injuries shouldn’t play as big a part in the 2021 series, but as we learned this year, games can flip on inexplicable or inescapable dimes.

Anyone looking through the annals of history will absolutely see this as an upset, but looking deeper will give some indication of how it was possible.

And in a few years’ time, with a few more series under some of these Maroons rookies’ belts, maybe it won’t seem so crazy after all.

Calling it the greatest upset ever after the series would be as wrong as calling this the worst Maroons side ever before it.



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Cary Grant charmed even while he hid behind his debonair persona



Alfred Hitchcock once remarked that likability was not something actors could fake. According to author Scott Eyman, the director added that there was “only one actor in the world so formidably skilled that he could fake a charm he did not in fact possess.”

The star Hitchcock had in mind is the subject of Eyman’s richly entertaining new biography, “Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise.” The book offers ample evidence that many who knew Grant were convinced his charms were genuine. But Hitchcock’s piercing assessment jibes with Eyman’s thesis that the legendary leading man was, even more than most Hollywood stars, a pure invention. The actor admitted as much himself: “He’s a completely made up character and I’m playing a part.” 

Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach in Bristol, England, in 1904, the child of working-class parents. His early years were miserable. His alcoholic father had his erratic mother institutionalized when Archie was 11 and allowed the boy to believe she had died. 

It’s remarkable that from this disadvantaged background the uneducated Grant came to be seen as the epitome of aristocratic grace. Part of the explanation lies in his dashing good looks. He worked hard to cultivate an elegant style and an acerbic wit, always with a slight air of detachment. 

Eyman covers Grant’s films in lavish detail, sometimes too much detail (at more than 500 pages, the book is at least 50 pages longer than it needed to be). Beginning in the late 1930s Grant had an impressive run of hits whose highlights include “Bringing Up Baby,” “His Girl Friday,” and “The Philadelphia Story.” Some of his best work was with Hitchcock, who was able to draw out a darker side of the actor in “Suspicion,” “North by Northwest,” and “To Catch a Thief.” The two had a productive and friendly partnership, despite the director’s later harsh appraisal.

Referring to the actor’s public persona, Eyman describes “the essential duality of Grant’s character – ardently pursuing fame while resisting exposure.” This resistance appears to be just as true of his intimate relationships, which developed a pattern of frenzied pursuit followed by withdrawal. The actor was married five times. He did not become a father until late in life. He stopped making films and appeared to derive more pleasure and joy from parenthood than he ever had from acting, which had never failed to make him anxious. 

Eyman writes in lively prose that benefits from his command of classic Hollywood. He treats his subject with compassion. Noting Grant’s insecurity over his performance in one of his final films, Eyman observes, “An actor’s life is emotionally perilous, right to the end.” 

Grant was aware of two rumors that swirled around him throughout his life: that he was gay and that he was cheap. He denied both. Of the former, which centered around his relationship with actor Randolph Scott, his off-and-on housemate, Eyman notes that there is “plausible evidence to place him inside any sexual box you want – gay, bi, straight,” but the author comes to no firm conclusion. 

The latter claim is easier to prove. Several friends recalled the wealthy Grant regularly sticking them with the check at restaurants; others spoke of his billing them for laundry and incidentals after they’d been his houseguest. Even the formidable Katharine Hepburn once after staying at his home “sent him a check for $1.81 to pay for the phone calls for which Grant obviously expected to be reimbursed,” Eyman writes. 

She must have nevertheless found him charming. They remained friends until the end.



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Missing Perth boy who was inside stolen car hid for hours until it was safe to get help


A seven-year-old boy who was missing for more than 12 hours after being taken by a carjacker who stole a family car hid in the vehicle until it was safe for him to get help.

Police said the boy, whose first name is Joseph, is safe and well after the car was stolen in the city’s northeast last night and he was found this morning.

The white Mitsubishi Pajero Sports four-wheel drive was taken at 8.40pm in Morley with the young boy inside.

Joseph, 7, was asleep inside his family’s car when a person carjacked it and took him on a joyride across Perth. (9News)

It’s understood his parents had got out of the car while it was still running and went inside their home at Napier Street in Morley for just a few seconds.

His mum, Rose, told 9News she had been tending to her other son who was sick and thought Joseph had followed her inside the property, not realising he’d fallen asleep in the vehicle.

Police acted quickly with a full-scale search effort to locate the boy and the car, flooding the streets and using the media to widely distribute Joseph’s image.

The boy said he hid in the car until it was parked and the thief left, before he went in search of help. (9News)

When the boy woke up in the car, he said he was on a highway and decided to wait until he could make a getaway.

“I stayed in the car until they parked it and I knocked on somebody’s door,” he said today.

“They didn’t come the first time, so I came in the morning and then they answered.”

The boy was found at 5.30am in Forrestfield, with the car dumped on Northumberland Road — 19km away from his home.

Police are trying to track this hooded figure, who may be the person responsible for the carjacking. (Supplied)

“I just can’t understand the grief, anguish and stress that the family would have gone through having their little boy missing for such a long time,” WA Police detective senior sergeant Curtis Roe said.

The attention of police has now turned to tracking down the person who stole the family’s car with Joseph inside.

Moments before the car was taken, a hooded figure was seen on CCTV making his way along a neighbour’s property last night.

Joseph described the person as a man with white skin, blue eyes and brown straight hair who left the vehicle and got into another car.

Anyone with information about the incident should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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Chadwick Boseman hid colon cancer diagnosis from others, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler says


An emotional tribute to American actor Chadwick Boseman by film director Ryan Coogler has hailed the late actor as “a man of faith, dignity and pride”.

Boseman, who starred in many recent films including Black Panther, died last week after battling colon cancer.

Coogler was the director of Black Panther, a movie from the Marvel franchise which was released in 2018.

In a long tribute to his lead actor and friend, Coogler described Boseman as an “epic firework” who “made great art, day after day, year after year”.

“I haven’t grieved a loss this acute before. I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see,” Coogler wrote.

“It leaves me broken knowing that I won’t be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take.

“I will tell stories about being there for some of the brilliant sparks till the end of my days. What an incredible mark he’s left for us.”

Chadwick Boseman, who starred in Black Panther, died of colon cancer aged 43.(Supplied: Disney/Marvel Studios)

Boseman had several hit roles portraying famous African Americans.

In 2013, he started in the movie 42, portraying famous baseball player Jackie Robinson.

He also played artist James Brown in the movie Get on Up.

But it was in Black Panther as the lead character T’Challa that Boseman will be best remembered.

In his tribute to Boseman, Coogler described the power of the actor’s performances when he portrayed the character.

I had the privilege of directing scenes of Chad’s character, T’Challa, communicating with the ancestors of Wakanda.

We were in Atlanta, in an abandoned warehouse, with bluescreens, and massive movie lights, but Chad’s performance made it feel real. I think it was, because from the time that I met him, the ancestors spoke through him.

It’s no secret to me now how he was able to skillfully portray some of our most notable ones. I had no doubt that he would live on and continue to bless us with more.

‘He was living with his illness the entire time I knew him’

Like many other people, Coogler did not know about Boseman’s battle with cancer.

The director said a combination of Boseman’s privacy, coupled with his role as a leader in the African American community, meant he hid his illness.

“After his family released their statement, I realised that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him,” Coogler wrote.

“Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering.

“I know that he will watch over us, until we meet again.”

Coogler is one of many famous stars to express their grief over the death of Boseman.

Actor Josh Gad posted on social media a few of the last texts he received from Boseman.

“He knew how precious every moment was. Tonight the Heavens received one of its most powerful angels,” Gad wrote.

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Denzel Washington told The Hollywood Reporter that Boseman’s performances will last forever.

“He was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist, who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short yet illustrious career,” Washington said.

“God bless Chadwick Boseman.”

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On Sunday, Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton dedicated his win in the Belgian Grand Prix to Boseman.

“It’s been an emotional weekend, I want to dedicate this win to Chad and his family, he was such an inspiration and his legacy will live on,” Hamilton wrote.



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Perth woman who hid in truck to enter WA from Victoria cops harshest penalty yet


“The fact you’ve come from Victoria is specifically concerning given that’s really the hotspot for COVID-19 in Australia and your actions really undo what this government in WA has done to prevent the community spread of this hideous virus,” he said.

The court heard Van Der Sander, who is unemployed, had been in Victoria for one month visiting her unwell sister when she was granted an exemption to return to WA. The exemption required her to complete 14 days hotel quarantine on arrival at her own expense ($2500).

She instead asked a truck driver at a Mildura roadhouse in regional Victoria for a lift to Perth around July 31. That same day Victoria recorded 557 new coronavirus cases.

Truck driver Shaun Pilmer faced court on Tuesday accused of helping Van Der Sander cross the border illegally.

In early July, the WA government tightened its requirements for people entering the state from Victoria in response to Melbourne’s second wave of COVID-19 infections.

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The new rules required those entering from Victoria to complete 14 days hotel quarantine at their own expense, rather than 14 days self-isolation at their home, as is required for arrivals from other states.

Outside court, Van Der Sander’s lawyer John Hammond said the sentence would send a strong message to the community.

Van Der Sanden will be eligible for parole after serving three months at Bandyup Women’s Prison.

At least five people have been sentenced in WA for failing to comply with the Emergency Management Act direction.

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Jonathon David, 35, from Victoria was ordered to serve an immediate prison term of one month after he repeatedly breached hotel quarantine to buy food and visit his girlfriend in Armadale in April.

Douglas Nothdurft, 33, from Queensland was jailed for an immediate term of four weeks after walking out of his hotel quarantine and going on an alcohol and meth binge in Perth’s CBD for “a few days” during the same month.

Two women who flew in from Adelaide and escaped hotel quarantine that same night received a suspended prison term and $5000 fine respectively, while a Northam farmer was also fined for failing to self-isolate.

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U.S. Intel: China hid extent of COVID-19 outbreak in order to stockpile medical supplies


A crew gets ready to unload medical supplies from an Antonov AN-225 cargo transporter upon arriving from China at Mirabel Airport in Mirabel, Quebec, Friday, May 1, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:51 PM PT — Monday, May 4, 2020

According to U.S. officials, China withheld critical information regarding the coronavirus outbreak in order to give itself time to hoard medical supplies.

Reports Monday cited Department of Homeland Security intelligence documents, which stated Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic in early January.

This followed comments by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Sunday who confirmed China did “all that it could” to make sure the world didn’t learn about the pandemic “in a timely fashion.”

“This is an enormous crisis created by the fact that the Chinese Communist Party reverted to form, reverted to the kinds of disinformation, the kinds of concealment that authoritarian regimes do,” said the State Department chief.

According to the analysis, while China was concealing the extent of the virus, it was simultaneously increasing imports and decreasing exports of vital medical supplies.

The report said Chinese officials tried to cover this up by “denying there were export restrictions, and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data.” China then went on to order medical supplies abroad, noting imports of face masks, gloves and surgical gowns “increased sharply.”

White House trade advisor Peter Navarro made similar accusations in mid-April. He said for six weeks China used its influence at the World Health Organization to hide the nature of the coronavirus, while buying up the world’s supply of medical equipment.

FILE – In this April 29, 2020, file photo Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the State Department in Washington. Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a 4-page, Department of Homeland Security report dated May 1 and obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Pompeo also noted that the U.S. still hasn’t been granted the access it needs in order to effectively fight the pandemic.

“We tried to get a team in there, the World Health Organization tried to get a team in there and they have failed,” he explained. “No one’s been allowed to go to this lab or any of the other laboratories; there are many labs inside of China.”

The secretary went on to stress that “this is an ongoing threat, an ongoing pandemic, and the Chinese Communist Party continues to block access to the western world.”

RELATED: Study: Most imported N95 face masks are ineffective





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China hid coronavirus’ severity to hoard supplies: US Homeland Security report


WASHINGTON: US officials believe China covered up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak — and how contagious the disease is — to stock up on medical supplies needed to respond to it, intelligence documents show.
Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a four-page Department of Homeland Security intelligence report dated May 1 and obtained by The Associated Press. The revelation comes as the Trump administration has intensified its criticism of China, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Sunday that that country was responsible for the spread of disease and must be held accountable.
Lockdown 3.0: Latest updates
The sharper rhetoric coincides with administration critics saying the government’s response to the virus was slow and inadequate. President Donald Trump‘s political opponents have accused him of lashing out at China, a geopolitical foe but critical US trade partner, in an attempt to deflect criticism at home.
Not classified but marked “for official use only,” the DHS analysis states that, while downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, China increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies. It attempted to cover up doing so by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” the analysis states.
More on Covid-19

The report also says China held off informing the World Health Organization that the coronavirus “was a contagion” for much of January so it could order medical supplies from abroad — and that its imports of face masks and surgical gowns and gloves increased sharply.
Those conclusions are based on the 95% probability that China’s changes in imports and export behavior were not within normal range, according to the report.
In a tweet on Sunday, the president appeared to blame US intelligence officials for not making clearer sooner just how dangerous a potential coronavirus outbreak could be. Trump has been defensive over whether he failed to act after receiving early warnings from intelligence officials and others about the coronavirus and its potential impact.
“Intelligence has just reported to me that I was correct, and that they did NOT bring up the CoronaVirus subject matter until late into January, just prior to my banning China from the US,” Trump wrote without citing specifics. “Also, they only spoke of the Virus in a very non-threatening, or matter of fact, manner.”
Trump had previously speculated that China may have unleashed the coronavirus due to some kind of horrible “mistake.” His intelligence agencies say they are still examining a notion put forward by the president and aides that the pandemic may have resulted from an accident at a Chinese lab.
Speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Pompeo said he had no reason to believe that the virus was deliberately spread. But he added, “Remember, China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running substandard laboratories.”
“These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab,” Pompeo said. “And so, while the intelligence community continues to do its work, they should continue to do that, and verify so that we are certain, I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”
The secretary of state appeared to be referring to previous outbreaks of respiratory viruses, like SARS, which started in China. His remark may be seen as offensive in China. Still, Pompeo repeated the same assertion hours later, via a tweet Sunday afternoon.
Speaking Sunday on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, echoed that sentiment, saying he believes China “is the most significant geopolitical threat to the United States for the next century.”
“The communist government in China bears enormous responsibility, enormous direct culpability for this pandemic. We know they covered it up,” Cruz said. “Had they behaved responsibly and sent in health professionals and quarantined those infected, there’s a real possibility this could have been a regional outbreak, and not a global pandemic. And the hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide are in a very real sense the direct responsibility of the communist Chinese government’s lies.”



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