The NSW Blues have kept the 2020 State of Origin series alive with a commanding 34-10 win over the Maroons in Game 2.
After struggling to get much from them in Adelaide, the entire spine for NSW was absolutely outstanding, and the forwards came out with a clear intent to dominate the contact zone.
Here’s how each of the 17 Blues rated in Sydney.
1. James Tedesco: 10/10
Another typically brilliant Origin performance from the NSW fullback. Tedesco looked to relish the Blues captaincy, putting himself in the front line in attack more often and constantly threatening the Queensland defence. Finished with two line breaks, two try assists, a try, and a game-high 238 running metres.
2. Daniel Tupou: 8
After hardly kicking to him in the second half of Game 1, the Maroons went to Tupou’s side plenty at the start of Game 2, and the big winger made them pay. He was damaging running the ball back, then nabbed his first Origin try after halftime.
3. Clint Gutherson: 6
A quiet night, but Gutheron was solid in defence, and fairly reliable in attack, even if he did come up with a couple of errors.
4. Jack Wighton: 6
A bad read from Wighton helped Xavier Coates cross early for the Maroons (although take nothing away from the outstanding finish), but he redeemed himself by bursting through a Dane Gagai tackle for a try to start the second half which put the game to bed.
5. Josh Addo-Carr: 8
One of the Blues’ best in Game 1, nothing changed for Addo-Carr in Sydney. Provided two outstanding long-range chases to force drop-outs and help turn the momentum in the first half, and another Origin double was thoroughly deserved.
6. Cody Walker: 8
Scored a try, had a hand in a few more, and combined well with Cleary. Some of his last-tackle kicks in the first half weren’t great, but they improved in the second to round out a good performance from Walker.
7. Nathan Cleary: 10
This is the Nathan Cleary Blues fans have been waiting for. His kicking game was unrecognisable from last week, as he controlled the game superbly with the boot. He took the line on more often as well, and laid on the last pass for James Tedesco’s first-half try. Add in some good defence and it was a great outing from Cleary.
8. Daniel Saifiti: 8
Made ten metres a run and didn’t miss a tackle. Gave away a penalty, but it was another good Origin outing from Saifiti.
9. Damien Cook: 8
Cook was busy all night around the ruck with the ball in hand, helping the Blues gain good metres through the middle. The little hooker was efficient in defence as well.
10. Payne Haas: 8
Haas produced a strong shift early on from even as the Blues struggled out of the gates. Wasn’t at his smartest when he was baited into exchanging fisticuffs with Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and sent to the bin for his troubles, but still finished with more metres than any other Blues forward. Justified his promotion to the starting side.
11. Angus Crichton: 8
Massive effort from the second-rower, particularly in the first half. With his improved physicality, he looked like the Angus Crichton of South Sydney times.
12. Tyson Frizell: 6
Frizell’s biggest impact came early in the game when his challenge on Cameron Munster forced the Maroons five-eighth out of the game. Didn’t have a huge role in attack, and was his usual excellent self in defence.
13. Jake Trbojevic: 8
Trbojevic’s stats line might make for meagre reading, but it doesn’t reveal the lock’s full impact. He laid on a number of crunching tackles, including one bone-rattler when he picked out poor Xavier Coates, to help NSW gain physical dominance, and is an important ball-player for the Blues around the middle of the park.
14. Dale Finucane: 7
Finucane hardly had to make a tackle in what was a relatively short stint, so he had plenty of energy to put into his ball-running – and it showed, with the Melbourne lock almost making ten metres every time he went on the charge. Should have played in the series opener.
15. Junior Paulo: 7
Paulo ran hard and offloaded well. Wasn’t superb in defence, but his impact in attack outweighed his few tackle misses.
16. Nathan Brown: 6
Turned Jake Friend into a speedbump with his very first run, but didn’t have all that much work to do in less than 20 minutes on the field.
17. Isaah Yeo: 8
Like Finucane, Yeo should have played in Game 1. His footwork going into contact was excellent, helping him to the second-most running metres of any Blues forward (127, equal with Saifiti). Throw in a flawless tackling scorecard and it was an excellent debut from the Panthers star.