SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 10: Jake Trbojevic of the Blues celebrates with team mates after a try by James Tedesco of the Blues during game three of the 2019 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium on July 10, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

What a game of rugby league.

I won’t go into the first half performance from the referees, as I don’t want to blight what was such a fantastic game with the refereeing debacle, although their performance nearly robbed the Blues of what was one of the best second 40 minutes I’ve seen.

The game started at a frantic pace, and with the mental scars from their slow start in Perth, the Maroons came out of the blocks with a lot of intent, lead by Josh Papalli, who was just about the best forward on the ground. The Queensland side seem to dominating field position, and their forwards were winning the advantage line battle. They reaped the rewards from a great start with a deft grubber from the debutant Norman which bounced into the hands of the ever consistent Felise Kaufusi. 

The game started to then be blighted with penalties, 12 in total, and I don’t think the stop start benefited either team. The Blues began to feel their way into the game however, and they were getting joy out wide with the long balls to centres, Trbojevic and Wighton. They’re middle units were seeing more success, and the introduction of Vaughan and Finucane provided the much needed punch within the pack. The momentum they were building capped off with a try from Vaughan, which was created by the great lead up play by Cook, who is becoming so dangerous inside the opposition 10 metre line. 

The second half got underway and the constant sound of the whistle had quitened, possibly a quiet word at half time over how the game was being referred, or restricted. 

The opening 15/20 minutes were where the Blues really showed their class. I thought, in terms of the packs, there wasn’t much separating the two. For the Blues, the introduction of Murray generated the ruck speed and Finucane continued to impress, playing very aggressively and getting through a mountain of work, and for the Maroons, Welch showed up well and I actually thought he deserved more minutes, and Josh McGuire continued to do what he has for all his Origin career, compete and work hard. Where I felt the difference lied was the legitimate X-Factor players NSW have at their disposal. 

Where the Maroons looked to Munster, their main man and strike weapon as a go to, the NSW side had a host of strike players who could break the game open. As was in the first game, Cook and Tedesco showed why they’re viewed as two of the games very best players, with a dominant 20 minutes where they really hurt the Maroons down the middle. 

Tedesco scored the first try in that second half, simply pinning his ears back and overpowering Chambers in the corner. He really stood up in a moment that his side needed him, and showed the leadership qualities that Brad Fittler had seen to hand him the vice captaincy. 

Cook picked his moments well, and didn’t over play his hand by running too much. He was rewarded for his try that I think everyone watching thought had sealed the series, nevertheless it was a brilliant solo try from a player who continues to get better and better. 

I’m guilty of saying at 20-8, with 20 minutes to go, I thought the NSW side were home and dry. True to their Queensland spirit however, the Maroons pulled off a miraculous fightback. The first try went to Josh McGuire, who showed his determination to beat multiple defenders and get over the line. It came off the back of a great play from Corey Oates from a kick return, the resulting field position and scrambling NSW defence created the space for Mcguire. 

Josh Papalli then levelled the scores with a try. A massive play from debutant Lowe, who was fantastic on debut, when he charged down a kick from Maloney. Similar to the try before, the field position they gained allowed DCE to play a beautiful short ball to Papalli who took advantage of a poor defensive read from Maloney. 

With the scores level at 20-20, it appeared the game was headed for golden point. The Maroons charged up field and if it wasn’t for such a slow play of the ball by Mbye, I think Cherry-Evans may have opted for the field goal. He didn’t however, and the next set the Blues found space on the outside through a brilliant cut out ball from Pearce to Trbojevic, who passed to Ferguson and he beat the attempted tackle of Norman, and managed to find a ball back on the inside to Tedesco who turned the Maroons defence inside out and sealed the winner. 

The second half especially, was one of the best 40 minutes of football I’ve seen in recent memory. The game flowed and the way the momentum shifted was typical of a high tempo Origin match. Both teams should be proud of themselves, there wasn’t much to seperate them at all, and how well matched both sides were culminated in such a fantastic game of football to watch. 

I believe NSW just have a couple more players who really possess the ability to break a game open, their outside backs seemed to have a bit more strike and that’s what’s so important in Origin, as opportunities are so limited and you need your game breakers to take their chances. 

I know we’ve only just finished this Origin series however I already can’t wait for the next and to see if the Blues can continue the dominance, similar to the Queensland side of the past 12 years, or can the Maroons regroup and wrestle back the shield?

10 COMMENTS

  1. The comment – ‘their performance nearly robbed the Blues of what was one of the best second 40 minutes I’ve seen’ is confusing. Are you saying had NSW not won the referees would be the reason?

    I agree the referees were too involved, i.e. the first 2 back to back penalties that led to NSW first penalty goal. For mine, QLD played above themselves and for them to be in a position to win the game in the 78th minute speaks to how NSW played well beneath their team sheet ability. We all know that referees get it wrong plenty of times, it is a part of the game and drives the fans nuts when it costs their team a win. But there is much more that is wrong with the game that needs fixing.

    Who wnats to see 4 on one tackle contests ending with the attacking player being walked back 5m or so. Then the slom play the ball that ensures as players peel off and climb over the player to make sure they are at marker before the player can get up to play th eball. The wrestle is ruining the game on so many levels. With no biff players take their frustrations out in the wrestle and it is boring to watch. The interchange makes sure the wrestle is there for 80 minutes and not the first 10 or so. The fact that the NRL cannot see the damage to the game as a result of the wrestle speaks to where their understanding of the game is.

    In an 80 minure game, how much football is actually played after stopages for scrums, penalties, injuries, cautions, sin-bins, drop-outs, video replayes for the Bunker to make a decision… all to a point that the players rarely become fatigues to a point where defence lines show weakness. The fast play the ball kills defensive structure – ain’t that great, lets have more of it. Can I propose two alternatives – firstly, between the 20/20 lines, only 2 defensive players allowed in the tackle, or, players in any tackle between the 20/20 lines are all offside in the nect ruck, i.e. they cannot partake in the next play the ball.

  2. Fergo was better than Turbo !
    He and Shaune Lane have been great buys for Parra this year 👌👍🐐🐐

  3. Good win for Pierce and the blues.
    No one bring up that Pierce refused to play origin 2 when nsw were 1 down because he had “a sore leg”

  4. Crazy to think that NSW’s best forward on the night, David Klemmer, only got picked cause Tariq Sims was suspended.

    125 metres, 41 post contact metres, 22 tackles but most importantly he took runs when NSW were deep in their own half to get them out of trouble time and time again. Full credit to Tariq he’s a great player but no chance would he have pulled out that type of performance, especially in 40 mins.

    I like the ‘pick and stick’ method of selection but at the same time you’ve also gotta pick the best players who are available. Freddy’s got a better football mind than any of us but a blind man could have seen that Klemmer is a must have in this origin team, especially for big game deciders.

  5. Cordner was NSW best forward last night, not Klemmer. I am not a huge fan of Cordner, and generally don’t see what the fuss is about him, but last night has was fantastic. He played a real captains game and led from the front with his carries and work.

  6. If Klemmer wasn’t the best forward he was damn close. Either way, it’s easy to see that the effort he provided was crucial to NSW winning and I’m just not sure that Tarqis Sims or any other NSW forward would have been able to provide that. Of the three who alternated between the front row (Klemmer, Finucane and Saifiti), he was a clear standout.

    I think with Cordner its that he just does all the little things right. Unlike many other second rowers he doesn’t have any distinct features; he doesn’t hit the lines like Kaufisi, the kicking/playmaking of Graham, the bursts of energy like Frizell. He runs hard, tackles hard, has a big motor and is very consistent.

  7. Was a wonderful exhibition of football with both sides deserving of a win.
    For me the difference and x factor was the introduction of Cameron Murray replacing Cordner where the intensity of NSW increased dramatically and paving a way for victory.
    He was simply outstanding.
    NSW nearly lost it again through a poor defensive read by Cordner for the qld equaliser but through Cook, Murray and Ferguson they saved the day.
    👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

  8. I think our Roosters should leave nothing behind in trying to snare Cameron Murray at any cost and they can have Crighton and Radley

  9. The Eye-Ball Opinion. Hey mate, apologies, I didn’t mean for NSW, I meant for the fans of the game. I just thought the referees chose a strange game to decide they were going to crack down on penalties, especially given some were really soft. I’m glad they changed after half time however as it allowed for a much more free flowing game.

  10. A try should have been awarded to Addo-Carr. Queensland had two players in a tackle near their try line & clearly raked the ball out, back to Addo-Carr for the try in the corner. Game over right there.

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