Origin 3: NSW Blues player ratings

Ryan O'Connell Columnist

17 Have your say

    State of Origin 3 NSW player ratingsNew South Wales weathered Queensland’s ‘perfect’ storm for 25 minutes to be just 6-0 behind, but the floodgates then opened to be 24-0 down and the game all but lost. We evaluate the NSW players: who got it right, and who went missing for the Blues.

    NSW Blues player ratings:

    Anthony Minichiello

    ‘The Count’ turned into ‘Butterfingers’. Minichiello made a lot of crucial mistakes, highlighted by his inability to gather a Darren Lockyer kick when he played at the ball with his knees, enabling Queensland winger Jharal Yow Yeh to pounce and score a soul-destroying try.

    Not the fullback’s greatest game.

    Rating: 5

    Jarryd Hayne

    Outstanding. Was brilliant in defence, and even better in attack. It seemed like he burst through the Maroons defence every opportunity he was given, and it’s ridiculous to think he wasn’t selected in game I.

    Rating: 8

    Mark Gasnier

    His ball security was once again questionable. Threw the final pass that led to Uate’s try, but was uncharacteristically quiet in attack all series long.

    Rating: 5

    Brett Morris

    Like Gasnier, his ball security cost NSW dearly in the first half. Showed again that when given space, he’s a dangerous and speedy customer. But surely that should be true of any winger at this level?
    Rating: 5

    Akuila Uate

    Runs the ball back as hard as winger in recent memory. NSW have found themselves a real gem in the Newcastle flyer, and he’ll challenge for the title of best winger in the world over the coming years.

    Rating: 7

    Jamie Soward

    Has a tendency to stand too deep in attack, which means he needs to kick the ball 10 to 20 metres further than necessary to be truly effective. It’s a strange quirk in his game that needs to be addressed.

    However, whilst he missed his body guard, Beau Scott, he certainly proved once and for all that he belongs at this level.

    Rating: 6.5

    Mitchell Pearce

    Only had one kick in the first 25 minutes, and he booted it out on the full. Totally unacceptable for an halfback to practically disappear for the first 30 minutes in each game of an Origin series.

    Stuart labelled him the best halfback in the game, but he’s not even in the top five this season. When a team lacks structure in attack, the halfback needs to take full responsibility.

    Rating: 4

    Greg Bird

    Made a great burst and subsequent pass to put Morris in a gap in the first half, and managed a zero-value consolation try, but otherwise, was far from his best. Only showed glimpses of what he’s capable of.

    Rating: 6

    Ben Creagh

    Tried hard, but Queensland were wise to his tactic of running inside his ball players, and they were there to meet him every time he attempted the play. Lacked impact.

    Rating: 5

    Glenn Stewart

    Did a mountain of work in defence, as you would expect of someone replacing Beau Scott. However, whilst he threatened on the fringes, he lacked the impact in attack that I thought he might have.

    Rating: 6

    Paul Gallen (c)

    Once again, was NSW’s best forward, and made an incredible 52 tackles in defence. If you’re looking for a reason that the Blues lost this series, look elsewhere. Their captain was sensational again.

    Rating: 8

    Michael Ennis

    The niggly hooker was injured early and didn’t return.

    Rating: 3

    Tim Mannah

    The Parramatta prop showed some early desperation in saving a try, but when that’s the highlight of your night, you’ve had a tough game.

    Rating: 4


    Kurt Gidley

    No one doubts his class, and his dummy half play and passes was certainly more crisp that Ennis. But he just didn’t seem in sync in attack. Perhaps it was due to the fact he had to make over 40 tackles in defence.

    Rating: 5.5

    Luke Lewis

    Worked hard, and threw an unbelievable pass that led to NSW’s first try. But you’ll go another 30 games before you see him miss tackles and make the mistakes that he did last night.

    Rating: 6

    Anthony Watmough

    His unbelievable leg power, and keenness to get involved ensures he’ll always be the ideal Origin bench player. A constant threat to Queensland with his low-to-the ground runs.

    Rating: 7

    Keith Galloway

    Was given limited opportunity, and did nothing wrong – but nothing of note either.

    Rating: 4

    Ryan O
    Ryan O'Connell

    Ryan is an ex-representative basketballer who shot too much, and a (very) medium pace bowler. He's been with The Roar as an expert since February 2011, has written for the Seven Network, and been a regular on ABC radio. Ryan tweets from @RyanOak.

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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • July 7th 2011 @ 8:28am
      Willy said | July 7th 2011 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      Gasnier – Seems to have lost a yard of pace, which has dulled his brilliance and attacking threat. Thanks for the memories Gaz, but we won’t be needing you in future.

      Morris – He’s a bit of a one-trick pony at the best of times, and that sort of one dimensional (zero dimensional really, given how much he relies on others to create for him) player will always get found out at this level. Thanks for your help Brett, but you can watch next year’s series on the couch with your brother.

      Pearce – Went missing completely. Hard to say whether it’s a lack of skill or lack of heart that holds him back the most. I am punting on lack of heart. His Dad – one of the bravest and toughest players in history – must be ashamed.

      Ennis – Has been completely hopeless throughout the series. Luckily for NSW he tore a heartlidge early and went off. Can’t escape the fact that the Blues would have loved the direction and creativity of Robbie Farah – especially in the second half. No doubt the selectors will see that too.

      Mannah – He’s an honest plodder at NRL level, so I have absolutely no idea why the Blues selectors think he’s an Origin player. Gave away a soft penalty in the first half, and NSW didn’t see the ball for another 20 minutes.

      Creagh – Flat track bully. Another Dragon who is made to look good by the structures of his team, but lacks the skill and intelligence to adapt to a change in surroundings, structure and tactics. One dimensional is over stating things.

      Minichiello – Had a shocker, but he was really only a stand in player anyway.

      The rest of them went OK, and should form part of the 2012 Blues. Throw in a few injured players – Scott, Lawrence, Hopoate, Jennings – pick the right blokes in key positions – Farah – and find a half back, and the Blues will be ready to win the series.

      • July 7th 2011 @ 9:52am
        josho said | July 7th 2011 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        Agree with you on each and every point. Surely the Morris myth can now be laid to rest, he is worth 6 point each game – to the other team. He and Creagh have had so many chances its not worth mentioning and apart from Creagh’s game in Orign 2, they haven’t played a decent game between them.

        You could almost add Soward to that list – he went missing in Game 1 but was excused as he was “still finding his feet” and that he “would be better for the run”. At half time in Game 2 you would struggle to confirm he was on the field, that is unless you were Slater who was more than happy with Soward’s kicking game. Granted, in the second half he killed QLD and was instrumental in the win. But again last night he went missing, in Game 3 of a live series no less.

        He has played 1 good half of football in 6. NSW can’t afford to tread water for most of the series next year hoping he decides to play. Surely if he fails to fire in Game 1 in 2012 he will also have his “papers stamped”.

        His Dragons team-mate Merrin would also have to be in the “one more chance” category. Accordingly of the 6 St. George players selected in the team – Creagh, Gasnier, Soward, Merrin, Morris and Scott, only Scott could be described as having been the right man for the job, or having had a good series.

        Given the Dragons were far and away the best side in 2010 and look like winning again in 2011, you’ve got to wonder just how good Bennett is – he takes these, well, sub-Origin standard players and makes them look like they are on a par with the blokes from Melbourne or Brisbane. Bennett is worth every cent, it’s just a shame he’s not a New South Welshman.

    • July 7th 2011 @ 8:38am
      Brett McKay said | July 7th 2011 @ 8:38am | ! Report

      Ryan, I reckon you could take a point each off Soward and Pearce and give them both to Gidley, because in the last 20 minutes and despite the game being well and truly lost, the halves were nowhere to be seen. It was Gidley that attempted to give the team some direction, along with the likes of Bird and Uate and Hayne. I can’t recall the last SOO game where I’ve wondered out loud where a team’s playmakers were…

      • July 7th 2011 @ 8:54am
        turbodewd said | July 7th 2011 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        I agree totally. NSW halves were M. I. A.

        Mitchell Pearce had a shocker, but was he ever really that good.

        For 2012 give us Carney and Farah please.

        Gasnier can go.

        • July 7th 2011 @ 9:54am
          josho said | July 7th 2011 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          Maybe Stuart was on to something when he said Hayne should be at five eighth. It might force him to do something – every time he does decide to get involved he looks good.

    • July 7th 2011 @ 9:02am
      Davo said | July 7th 2011 @ 9:02am | ! Report

      pearce is not the best halfback in the game. But when he plays well he isn’t far away. He had an absolute shocker last night. Ricky put way too much pressure on him

      • July 7th 2011 @ 9:55am
        josho said | July 7th 2011 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        Is that what Brian Smith has been doing too? Come on, he’s a grown man – one good game in every four is not good enough.

      • July 7th 2011 @ 10:28am
        Jimmy G said | July 7th 2011 @ 10:28am | ! Report

        To be the best halfback in the game you can’t have shockers. The best players must be up week in week out and in the big games at their best.

        Pierce is a long way off as shown last night and in game 1

    • July 7th 2011 @ 9:12am
      Football Fan said | July 7th 2011 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      Hayne was garbage when the game was on the line – when it was over and the Queenslanders were in party mode all of a sudden he came to life.

      • July 7th 2011 @ 10:03am
        Mals said | July 7th 2011 @ 10:03am | ! Report

        Eh?? What game were you watching?!? Hard for Hayne to “come to life” when NSW had no ball. When NSW did have the ball in the 1st half guys like Morris & Creagh gave up possession through poor ball security & pushing the pass!

        • July 7th 2011 @ 1:22pm
          Football Fan said | July 7th 2011 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

          I watched the game where Hayne was useless until the game was dead! Regardless of the possession figures – he gave his team nothing.

    • July 7th 2011 @ 9:12am
      Brendon said | July 7th 2011 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      I disagree with Kurt gidley… I thought he was rubbish. Too often he tried too much from dummy half and lost the ball or got us tackled on the last. He needs to trust the halves instead of trying to do it all himself

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      • July 7th 2011 @ 10:06am
        Jimbo said | July 7th 2011 @ 10:06am | ! Report

        Agreed – I thought Gidley was actually alright last year after being pretty ineffective in 07 and 08. This time, he returned to his old habit of trying to do everything himself, to the detriment of the team.

    • July 7th 2011 @ 10:05am
      Ricardo said | July 7th 2011 @ 10:05am | ! Report

      Gallen: ” If you’re looking for a reason that the Blues lost this series, look elsewhere.” He sure did. Blamed the ref for the loss. Gallen had a great game, but until we get players who collectively stand up and take responsibility rather than point the finger at others we won’t have a chance.

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