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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Blues hold off Maroons to break four-year Origin drought

A brilliant win in a thrilling contest that was equal parts excitement and sheer grit and determination. One of the best we've seen or will see.
The Blues are so emotional and this young unit have just put on one of the best displays of football from a Blues side for over a decade. Reduced to 12 men in the final 15 minutes ... in those moments so often in recent years we have seen the Blues shrink as the Maroons take over.
This time, both sides lacked experience but only one looked without composure. As Queensland skipper Greg Inglis says, "it was ours for the taking". That kick from Ben Hunt on the third and the forced kick from Chambers - those are killers.
James Maloney, on the flipside, played his best game in blue. He was doing a superb impression of Cooper Cronk. That was HIS game and he led from go to whoa.

                                                             Congratulations to NSW!

Player ratings for the NSW Blues from game two of the 2018 State of Origin series.
1. James Tedesco: Was handled better by Queensland than in game one but he was still dangerous with the ball and safe at the back. Lovely pass for Mitchell's second-half try. 7/10
2. Tom Trbojevic: Defensive combination with James Roberts was tested early and found wanting. Still deserves plenty of credit for taking a mountain of tough carries in his own end. Was one of the best on ground in a frantic final 10 minutes. 7
3. Latrell Mitchell: Quiet first half but exploded early in the second with powerful try and some big hits. Very poor error from a restart plus a defensive misread to hand Will Chambers a try which would have led to a lower score if his team had lost. 7
4. James Roberts: Still question marks over his defence after the Maroons created plenty of space on his edge. Busier in attack than game one with four busts and nudging 100 metres. Will be remembered for a late professional foul that could have proved more costly than it did. 4.5
5. Josh Addo-Carr: Conceded two costly penalties early. Produced a great try-saver on Gagai before missing the same man for a try shortly after. Wonderful footwork for team's first try. 6.5
6. James Maloney: Not quite as rocks and diamonds as game one. Some lovely kicks including one to create crucial penalty try. Perfect off the tee with two sideline conversions which was crucial in a tight game. His composure in a tumultuous second half was vital. 8
7 Nathan Cleary: Won't be in many more highlight reels than he was in game one but got through his kicks and tackles. Late cover tackle on Valentine Holmes was a thing of beauty. Did his job and should be in the role for a long time. 6.5
8. David Klemmer: First stint was classic Klemmer with some big charges but injury and sin bin dramas elsewhere in the team prevented coach Brad Fittler being able to get him back on the field. 5.5
9. Damien Cook: Had nothing like the same platform to work from as in game one, particularly in the first half, but still chose his times to run well and did a mountain of defence with a team-high 42 tackles. Queensland had a much better plan for him this time. 7

10. Matt Prior: Just three runs in his opening stint but defended solidly. The Blues lifted after he was replaced by Vaughan. Had an already-short second spell curtailed due to Roberts' sin bin with Peachey called in. 5

11. Boyd Cordner: Punched at Queensland's right edge all night. Perfectly timed run to earn a penalty try. Unfortunately concussed late. 7
12. Tyson Frizell: 30 tackles and none missed, again asked to play wide then middle. Never plays badly. 7

13. Jack de Belin: Stinging tackles, clean-up work around the ruck, fast play-the-balls. Forced the error that led to Blues' early second-half try. Really warming into this whole Origin thing. 8


14. Paul Vaughan: Blues were blown away early but the game completely changed once Vaughan came on. Enormous impact from his first carry to his last. 7.5

15. Jake Trbojevic: Like game one, was called in early and played out the match.Incredibly reliable in the middle doing plenty of tough stuff. 7.5

16. Angus Crichton: Hardly used in the first half but shored up the right edge with 23 tackles and 52 metres in the second. 6

17. Tyrone Peachey: Only got a few more minutes than his debut but again did his best to get busy once he got on. 4