Michael Jennings has scored some great tries in his career; the 108-metre screamer for the Panthers against the, ahem, Roosters; the beautiful show-and-go in Origin One, 2011 off a Josh Dugan line-break assist; and even this little in-and-away versus the Dragons this season:
But given the stage he did it on, the difficulty rating of the effort and the importance of the contest, Jenko’s individual try in Game One this year has to go to the top of the highlights package for the Roosters’ number 3.
Picking up a loose kick, he zipped right and fended off two defenders, then scooted back left through three more defenders and slammed the ball down.
He did all of that in the space of 15 metres. Scroll to 1:35 to check it out again:
So if that’s the case, that the Game One try was Jenko’s greatest effort, only one question remains:
Where does it rank in the history of great State Of Origin tries?
This writer could think of only three tries that could potentially top this one in terms of difficulty, individual brilliance or team execution in Origin. They’re just an opinion so don’t shoot the messenger, even though they are the opinion of the messenger.
(And if you feel I’ve missed something, send me a link to the video of a try I may have egregiously overlooked and I’ll update this article.)
ITS A MIRACLE!
The Queensland team were down 12-10 in Game One, 1994. They were camped down in their own half with just over two minutes remaining. Then this happened:
Most commentators will tell you this was the greatest Origin try ever scored, and its hard to argue. It’s one of the great team tries, period; but on that stage, in Origin, with the amount of hands it went through and all the near-tackles, to win a game on that note will perhaps remain unsurpassed in Origin folklore.
The very fact that you kept saying in your head “Coyne, Coyne, COYNE!” just shows you how iconic the moment is; you’d subconsciously memorised the commentary even if you didn’t want to.
HE’LL SCORE… ONE OF THE GREAT ORIGIN TRIES!
Looking at this in full speed, everyone would have been certain that Billy Slater was in front of Darren Lockyer when the Queensland captain put a grubber kick through the line for the then-Queensland winger.
What happened next seemed inconsequential, and even New South Welshman stood back in awe because we knew — we just KNEW — there was no way Billy was onside. Alas:
He timed his run inch-perfect and announced himself as a star of the future, a star that would eventually rise to the top of the game. He would repeat these perfectly timed chases throughout his career once he moved to fullback, but he has never been able to repeat the speed, chip kick at pace and regather to score like that. No one has.
Wait, maybe I spoke too soon?
FROM THE DEBUTANTE OF ALL PEOPLE!
Brent Tate received the ball just shy of halfway with the halftime siren having just gone off in Game One, 2007. Instead of taking the tackle or putting it high, the Queensland winger got too fancy for his own good and put an inexplicable low kick through which hit debut winger Jarryd Hayne’s legs.
He ended up paying for his tomfoolery, did Tate:
That try was the closest this writer has seen to a try which could come close to Slater’s: he was hugging the sideline, kicked it, went out, came back in and won the chase to the ball on halftime in his first game of Origin football. The try sent tingles down the spine at 26 Rounds HQ when it happened (even though 26 Rounds HQ wasn’t technically built yet).
This writer has it ranked just behind the two Queensland tries and a shade in front of the Hayne try as one of the greats. It came with nothing on, was the result of pure talent, speed and individual brilliance and he bumped off five players to get it down; five players from the greatest Origin team ever assembled, no less.
The Queensland tries, in this writer’s opinion, will resonate stronger over time and were the first of their kind on this type of stage. Even NSW fans remain appreciative they got to watch them, despite the heartache.
But what do you think? Vote below on which try you think is the greatest of the four listed here; and if you have another try worth mentioning, link to it in the comments below or Tweet me. You can even Facebook it to me if that’s your preference.