Michael Schirripa reviews Origin Game Two at Suncorp Stadium. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: Josh Addo-Carr (11, 69), Latrell Mitchell (25), Tom Trbojevic (32)
Goals: Nathan Cleary (13, 27, 33, 49 – pen, 70)
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – James Tedesco (NSW)
2 pts – Tom Trbojevic (NSW)
1 pt – Josh Addo Carr(NSW)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Drama surrounded the lead up to the highly anticipated do-or-die State of Origin clash, with uncertainty around player eligibility and the evolving COVID-19 situation unfolding across the country.
Queensland were thrown in to disarray on gameday, with Reece Walsh withdrawing with a hamstring injury to bring on a debut for Cronulla Sharks winger Ronaldo Mulitalo; however, a call was made by the NRL that he was not eligible to represent his state.
The Maroons had all to play for: having not lost a Game Two in Queensland since 2000, they needed something special to upset a rampant NSW squad.
NSW started the game with a vengeance, but were unable to crack a stubborn Maroons defence in the first 10 minutes.
Under immense pressure, QLD were forced to kick the ball from deep inside their own half, giving NSW great territory.
NSW finally cracked Queensland in the 11th minute of the game: Josh Addo-Carr was the beneficiary from a lovely worked backline movement to open the scoring.
NSW were marching down the field every time they were in possession, with Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic making serious metres, picking where they left up from in Game One.
Queensland were given a piggy-back penalty down the field to give them a perfect opportunity to post some points. In the subsequent set, Valentine Holmes looked down the right edge to try and provide some spark, but his pass fell in the lap of Mitchell, who intercepted the ball and sprinted away to score adjacent to the posts.
If that was not enough to silence a sold-out Suncorp Stadium, Trbojevic would chime in with a try of his own after a lovely set up between him and Addo-Carr to top off a dominant half of football.
Queensland would have one last attacking set on the NSW tryline, but Dane Gagai was dragged out by his South Sydney teammate Mitchell.
HALF-TIME: Queensland 0 New South Wales 18Embed from Getty Images
NSW almost started the second half the way they finished the first: Addo-Carr raced down the field and kicked it to Trbojevic, who thought he had his second of the night, but it was ruled out due to Cameron Murray being in front of the play the ball, gifting QLD a penalty.
The pressure would continue to mount on QLD; Trbojevic was proving to be a handful as he kept finding space down the left. Nathan Cleary put in a grubber that looked certain to force at least a repeat set, before Daly Cherry-Evans gave away a penalty for an escort. NSW would opt for the penalty goal, as Cleary slotted it over the posts for a 20-0 lead.
After wave after wave of NSW pressure, Queensland thought they crossed for their first try of the evening, with last-minute call up Xavier Coates diving in the corner to plant the ball down, but he dropped the ball in the process of grounding it.
The heartbreak would continue moments later; after being gifted a penalty for an escort and an another attacking set, Gagai grounded the ball but his elbow touched the dead-ball line as the horror night for the Maroons continued.
The Blues forward pack was leading from the front both in attack and defence, with Daniel Saifiti and Cameron Murray putting in strong performances.
With just 11 minutes remaining, NSW would deliver the final blow: James Tedesco raided the short side down the left edge and found a rampaging Addo-Carr, who crossed for his second of the night.
Kyle Feldt thought he had scored a consolation try, after a lovely grubber from Cherry-Evans, but NSW winger Brian To’o forced the ball free which summed up the spirit of the Blues.
NSW wrapped up the series with a comprehensive victory, led by a monster performance from their fullback in Tedesco. They will now look for a series whitewash in two and a half weeks’ time in NSW (depending on the COVID-19 situation), as the Maroons will need to do some soul searching as they look to restore pride and avoid a 3-0 series loss.
FULL-TIME: Queensland 0 New South Wales 26
Nathan Cleary (NSW) – shoulder
Match Review Committee