On Wednesday night, Queensland overcame an 8-0 deficit to score three tries on the trot and win the opening match of the Origin series 18-14.
NSW were good in the first half, but despite holding Queensland scoreless, they were lucky as the Maroons bombed three certain tries.
For the first 30 minutes of the second half, Queensland were in control. It was only prior to Jack Wighton throwing the intercepted pass to Dane Gagai were NSW in any threat.
Kalyn Ponga’s first miss of the night saw Queensland take a 12-8 lead but a matter of minutes later, the dynamic Newcastle and Queensland custodian set up his second try of the night to send Gagai over for his second try.
New South Wales fought back to make it 18-14 with Jake Trbojevic’s try underneath the posts, successfully getting the ball on the ground despite efforts from Manly team-mate and Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans. The Maroons held off the Blues to take the first match with the 18-14 victory.
So the question amongst us New South Wales supporters is how did it all go wrong? I have a three ideas that come to mind.
1. David Klemmer off for the final 25
Klemmer shouldn’t have played for the full 80. Given his strike power and ruthless aggression, no doubt he could pull it off, but he’s only human, not an actual terminator.
The moment he went off, Queensland were dominant and New South Wales could barely make much ground. It would have made more sense to rest David Klemmer for the first 15 minutes of the second half then unleash him again for the final 25.
2. Jack Wighton on the field for Cody Walker
I don’t mind Jack Wighton on the field, but the idea to throw him on in place of a halves player was a questionable call.
I would have put him on as a lock forward so it’s like an extra playmaker on the field.
Cody Walker on debut was one of the best for New South Wales. This kind of stuff has worked before.
Brad Fittler played a handful of games at lock for Blues with mixed results. In my Blues dream team, he’d be my lock and Brett Kenny for five-eighth.
3. Poor left edge defence
The right Queensland flank was given endless opportunities, despite only one paying off. They bombed two tries there and had they been a success, the Maroons would have scored anywhere between 26 and 30 on Wednesday.
There was miscommunication between Latrell Mitchell and Josh Addo-Carr.
Despite the loss, I don’t think any player should be dropped for the Blues.
A few unfortunate mistakes led to Queensland coming away with the win.
Given the Blues’ focus on aiming to extend the lead as opposed to defending it, I see a different NSW side running on the turf in Perth for yet another tight thriller. I expect Brad Fittler’s men to have the edge and send it to Sydney for a decider.
Queensland may have taken the lead but New South Wales now have to strike back or they’ll fail to achieve back-to-back success.