NSW backrower Ryan Hoffman could hardly be blamed for wondering whether Wednesday night’s State of Origin decider was little more than a bad dream.
Like waking up to a ferocious hangover, the foggy memories of the Blues’ record 52-6 thumping at the hands of a typically clinical Queensland side were strangely impaired, yet all too incriminating.
As the sorry Blues outfit, so audacious only the evening before, returned to their home state with their tails between their legs, Hoffman was still in disbelief over the eight-tries-to-one demolition.
“It’s quite a sombre sort of feeling I suppose … you wake up and think, `Did that really happen?’,” he told Fox Sports News.
“Yes it did, so we’ve got to cop our medicine on the chin.
“We got beaten by a side that turned up with the better mentality and a better attitude last night.”
Hoffman didn’t get to participate in much of the torrid proceedings, suffering an early calf injury and not returning to the field.
The Warriors forward will undergo scans back in New Zealand to determine the extent of the injury and ascertain how many weeks he may be sidelined from the NRL, with his availability for Sunday’s home clash against former club Melbourne looking doubtful.
With the Maroons claiming their ninth series victory from the past 10, another shot at the title after last year’s breakthrough triumph seems all too far away.
But Hoffman was adamant the on-field bashing would only reignite the spark in coach Laurie Daley’s young squad when they return to chase Origin boasting rights once more.
“I know this group, I know what Loz has created in this group,” he said.
“I feel it’s going to galvanise us – it’s certainly going to hurt – but I think this hurt is going to translate into this team definitely coming back better.”