The New South Wales Blues couldn’t pick up the victory in Game 3 of the 2018 State of Origin series, but they did lift the shield for the first time since 2014 last night. Here are my player ratings for the Blues.
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1. James Tedesco – 7.5
Not the fullback’s best game in the sky blue, but he still came up with some huge plays. Despite throwing the pass which led to Valentine Holmes’ 90-metre effort, he scored a try, had a hand in others and ran the ball well all night. His defence on the goalline, particularly during the first half, was also outstanding.
2. Tom Trbojevic – 8
Trbojevic put in one of the best winger’s performances you are likely to see at this level. He scored the Blues first try on an intercept, but ended up with more than 230 metres, line breaks and a number of positive plays to his name.
Trbojevic has well and truly shown he belongs at his level.
3. Latrell Mitchell – 5
Mitchell will develop into a fantastic Origin player, but I’m still not sold on him after last night. To be fair, the Blues spent most of the first half in defence and his attacking opportunities were limited. Mitchell made some big tackles on Will Chambers, but also let the first try in during the first half.
He still has the odd brain snap as well. A dumb penalty early in the game almost led to an early try for Queensland.
4. James Roberts – 5.5
As the story will be for so many of the Blues, he defended really well during the first half of the game. Like Mitchell though, I’m no convinced about his Origin credentials. For Roberts to be a high-quality player, he must have space to work with the ball. That’s rare at Origin level and stunted his attack during Game 3.
5. Josh Addo-Carr – 6
Addo-Carr struggled for opportunities throughout the game, but did have a couple of dangerous-looking runs. To go with that, his defensive effort was first-class for most of the match. He ended up with 150 metres and almost could have been the hero after a break in the dying minutes of the contest.
6. James Maloney – 5.5
This was Maloney’s worst game of the series by a considerable distance really. He ended up in the sin bin, wasn’t able to control the New South Wales attack with his attack and struggled to play consistently. He made some bad errors in attack as well, leaving the ball behind on a pass at one point during the late second half.
He had some good plays as well, but it’s not enough to justify a high rating.
7. Nathan Cleary – 6.5
Cleary proved exactly how good he is during the ten-minute period when Maloney was in the sin bin. He stood up and led the Blues team around the park, slotting a couple of high-pressured conversions during that period as well.
While he could have done more in the last 20, especially with the struggles of Maloney, it’s hard to be too criticial on the young half.
8. David Klemmer – 6.5
Klemmer had a really solid first stint of the game. He was one of the Blues best, but when he came back for his second, he ruined what would have been a higher rating with a poor second half.
The big Bulldogs prop was pulled up for a trip and and missed a crucial tackle against Ben Hunt who took Queensland to victory.
9. Damien Cook – 7.5
This is the first time Cook hasn’t led the tackle count for the series. He still finished second with 37 though, putting in another big performance. His attack hasn’t been at the same level as it was in Game 1 across the rest of the series, but the hooker has barely put a foot wrong in his debut series.
10. Paul Vaughan – 4
The way Brad Fittler has used his front rowers throughout this series has been somewhat confusing. They all seem to have spent far too much time on the bench and Vaughan’s effort in Game 3 was no different.
Moved into a starting role, he had just one run in his first 20-minute burst, and while he tackled strongly, it’s hard to say he impacted the game greatly.
11. Boyd Cordner – 7
It was a captain’s knock to say the least from Cordner. He was effective with the ball and hit hard in defence. Interestingly, he only ended up with 91 metres and 21 tackles, but everyone of them were done at a hundred miles an hour as he tried to inspire his side back into the game.
His defensive plays during the first half when the Blues were under so much pressure with only 30 per cent possession were superb as well.
12. Tyson Frizell – 6
Hard to get a read on the game Frizell played. He didn’t really put a foot wrong, defending well and doing everything right when he got the opportunties. The problem for the second rower was the lack of opportunities with the ball. By the end of the match he had just 68 metres from seven runs to go with a swathe of tackles.
It screams maybe he didn’t go searching for it enough, but Frizell did something close to his job.
15. Jake Trbojevic – 8
Given his first start this series, Trbojevic made a huge impact on the Blues. He never stopped trying, ending the game with 43 tackles and plenty of handy touches on the ball. It’s hard to see him not being in the Blues – and indeed Australian – number 13 jersey for most of the next decade.
13. Jack de Belin – 5.5
De Belin was the man put onto the bench so Trbojevic could start and unfortunately he didn’t really have the required impact from the pine. He ended up with 53 metres and 18 tackles, which, given his minutes is hardly terrible, but there is a nagging feeling he could have done more.
14. Tariq Sims – 6
Sims came off the bench at a million miles per hour and got the Blues off to a great start in the second half. His aggression is a key reason I had him in my 17 before Game 1 and he showed what he can do during Game 3. Unfortunately, his rating is dragged down by the one the craziest penalties you’ll ever seen on a rugby league field.
I mean, fancy tackling the marker after you played the ball. You can’t make that stuff up.
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16. Angus Crichton – 5.5
Let the pressure get to him when he threw an offload over the sideline instead of hitting James Roberts who likely would have gone on to score in the corner. Still, the rest of his was pretty solid.
17. Tyrone Peachey – 5
Again, it’s hard to work out what Fittler’s plan is with the utility in the Blues side. He got 18 minutes in Game 3, which is more than he got in either of the first two and looked dangerous when he did enter the fold, but it’s hard to rate Peachey as anything more than average when he came on as late as he did against very tired bodies.
Being dangerous is exactly what was expected and anticipated of him at that point.