FOUR POINTERS: Queensland 26 New South Wales 16

Slow and steady wins the race
New South Wales ran out onto Suncorp Stadium playing a high tempo of football. Offloads, quick play the balls and runs out of dummy half were aplenty. However, the frenetic brand of football troubled the NSW players as much as the Queenslanders at times. Mansour’s confusion when Jennings tried to pass the ball out wide was the instigator of Queensland’s first try but an Adam Reynolds offload sent Frizell over for a try.
Queensland, on the other hand, bided their time, absorbing the pressure from NSW. Cameron Smith controlled the game superbly once the Maroons were ahead, often kicking for touch and preventing the Blues from settling into a rhythm.
Left and then right
Hoping to capitalise on a new Blues right edge partnership, the Maroons sent all their attack to their left. However, once Gagai gathered a loose pass to run the length of the field, the Queenslanders targeted Jennings and Mansour mercilessly. Jennings consistently put pressure on his winger by coming early out of the line – exemplified by Gagai’s second try – and Gagai rightfully scored a hattrick.
Double knock on
Every opportunity needs to be taken in Origin and NSW had two golden chances that went begging. Michael Jennings will be kicking himself for knocking on both times. With the ball already over the line and only needing to be grounded, the Parramatta centre stretched out his arms in panic as he hoped to get a finger on the ball but knocked on instead. Little did he know Blues debutant Tyson Frizell was rampaging towards the in goal to ground the ball.

The second chance was more difficult. Jennings competed for a high ball but once again the Steeden travelled forwards before bobbling to Maloney who grounded it.
Young brigade impress
Many pundits were saying before the Origin series that it was time for NSW to cut their losses and invest in youth – and the young players didn’t let their side down. Frizell was arguably the best on the field for the Blues, scoring one try and being denied a second by a Jennings knock on. Jack Bird threatened the Queensland defence – originally playing as a loose forward before playing in the halves for the injured Reynolds – and is a contender to start in the centres in game three.
One player the Blues cannot be without is 25-year-old prop, Aaron Woods. His absence was sorely missed early in the second half, and once the big forward was back on the field, the Blues immediately scored through Frizell.
Gagai and Papalii shone for the Maroons and with a host of players who were ineligible for this year’s series available next year, the Blues can’t simply wait for Thurston and Smith to retire.
Sam Thaiday – On report

New South Wales
Greg Bird – Injury
Adam Reynolds – Injury
Queensland 26
Tries: Gagai 3, Oates
Conversions: Thurston 3/4
Penalties: Thurston 2/2
New South Wales 16
Tries: Frizell, Maloney,
Conversions: Reynolds 1/1, Maloney 1/1
Penalties: Reynolds 2/2

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