NSW v QLD - State of Origin Game 2
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 26: James Tedesco of the Blues is tackled by Kurt Capewell of the Maroons during game two of the State of Origin series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Optus Stadium on June 26, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The New South Wales Blues have kept themselves alive in the 2022 State of Origin series, handing the Queensland Maroons a 44 points to 12 beatdown on Sunday evening in Perth.

Setting up a live decider, it was Nathan Cleary and James Tedesco who led the way for New South Wales as they ran in six unanswered tries over the final 42 minutes of the game to kick clear of a Queensland team who had been competitive during the opening half an hour of the contest.

After Game 1 saw the Maroons take a majority of the votes - the only NSW players to poll were James Tedesco and Jack Wighton - it was NSW players who claimed all 60 votes during Sunday night's encounter in Zero Tackle's State of Origin MVP race.

Our panel - founder Matt Clements, journalists Dan Nichols and Jack Blyth, and myself, almost unanimously agreed with the decision to install Nathan Cleary as the man of the match, although James Tedesco was handed five votes by myself with Cleary coming in second spot.

Matt, Dan and Jack all found reason to hand Tedesco the four votes despite his 265 metres and 12 tackle busts. Cleary, on the other hand, had a double and a couple of try assists, as well as an excellent effort leading the kicking game.

There was no dispute over the next two players on the list however, with Matt Burton - on debut - claiming three votes after scoring a try and backing up Cleary with a couple of superb kicks in the centres.

Brian To'o - the dangerous winger who is one of the most important players in the competition to any team he plays for - unanimously recorded two votes from all four judges after running for a tick over 260 metres and scoring a try.

The final vote to hand out was split four ways, with all of Daniel Tupou, Jake Trbojevic, Jarome Luai and Junior Paulo having their names registered to the vote sheet for the 2022 series.

It means 14 players have now recorded votes, with Tedesco's votes in Game 1, combined with those from last night, giving him quite the edge at the top of the leaderboard over Cameron Munster, who recorded 19 out of 20 in the opener.

Nathan Cleary comes into equal second spot on the leaderboard after recording 19 votes last night, while Matt Burton joins Patrick Carrigan and Valentine Holmes in equal fourth spot on 12 votes, a distant 14 behind Tedesco.

Brian To'o is the last player within 20 votes of Tedesco and still a mathematical chance of winning this year's Origin MVP.

Game 3 will be played on July 13 in Brisbane.

Game 2 votes

Matt Clements Scott Pryde Dan Nichols Jack Blyth
5 Nathan Cleary James Tedesco Nathan Cleary Nathan Cleary
4 James Tedesco Nathan Cleary James Tedesco James Tedesco
3 Matt Burton Matt Burton Matt Burton Matt Burton
2 Brian To'o Brian To'o Brian To'o Brian To'o
1 Daniel Tupou Jake Trbojevic Jarome Luai Junior Paulo

Full leaderboard

Rank Player State Votes
1 James Tedesco NSW 26
2 Cameron Munster QLD 19
2 Nathan Cleary NSW 19
4 Matt Burton NSW 12
4 Patrick Carrigan QLD 12
4 Valentine Holmes QLD 12
7 Brian To'o NSW 8
8 Reuben Cotter QLD 5
9 Daly Cherry-Evans QLD 2
10 Daniel Tupou NSW 1
10 Jack Wighton NSW 1
10 Jake Trbojevic NSW 1
10 Jarome Luai NSW 1
10 Junior Paulo NSW 1