The New South Wales Blues have secured the 2021 State of Origin series with a comprehensive 26-0 win over the Queensland Maroons in Origin 2 at Suncorp Stadium.
More Origin 2
» TALKING POINTS: Where do Queensland go from here?
» Origin 2, as it happened: Play-by-play commentary
» VIDEO: Latrell’s amazing intercept try
» VIDEO: Trbojevic’s sensational try-saver on Coates
While it wasn’t as scintillating as their 50-6 romp in the previous game, New South Wales’ incredibly desperate defending – particularly in the second half – carried them to victory and consigned the Maroons to their first scoreless outing in an Origin game in Brisbane.
Queensland, in fairness, were vastly improved after their appalling effort in the series opener. They had several genuine scoring chances and arguably had the better of the second half, but simply couldn’t find a way through the Blues’ defense.
The tone was set in a fiery first ten minutes where Queensland looked ready for the fight, but the Blues were still able to head to the sheds with an 18-0 lead.
A one-on-one strip by Latrell Mitchell deep in Queensland territory set Josh Addo-Carr up for what was a worryingly easy first try.
The Maroons responded over the next 15 minutes and, following an uncharacteristic James Tedesco knock-on and a set restart, looked destined to strike back and level the score.
But Mitchell was able to turn the half on its head, intercepting an ambitious pass to the sideline from Valentine Holmes and scoring a length-of-the-field stunner.
Tom Trbojevic threatened down the right-hand side minutes later, but Cameron Murray wasn’t expecting the pass back inside and put it to ground. The third try did come soon, however, with a clean break down the sideline from Addo-Carr and Trbojevic putting the Manly fullback-turned-centre over for his fourth try of the series.
Queensland were able to reach the end of the half without further damage, but the Blues were all over them early in the second half.
Addo-Carr and Trbojevic looked to have linked up for a stunning fourth try early in the piece, but Cameron Murray was penalised for getting involved despite starting the play ahead of the play-the-ball.
That didn’t deter New South Wales, however. They got down their end of the field in a hurry and added two more points to their lead after Daly Cherry-Evans was penalised – and lucky to avoid the sin bin – for taking Tariq Sims out while he chased a grubber in-goal.
Queensland got exceptionally close to their first try a few minutes later, but Trbojevic was able to make a try-saving play on Xavier Coates in the corner – coming from nowhere to dive, swipe at the winger’s arm as he dived and force the knock-on.
The Maroons continued to threaten, but the Blues simply wouldn’t let them over the line. They looked to have finally broken through just past the hour mark, with Cherry-Evans grounding his own high kick after two of his teammates were judged by the bunker to have knocked it backwards in goal, but Dane Gagai’s attempting grounding with his elbow on the dead ball line brought it unstuck.
Andrew McCullough looked to have broken the drought five minutes later, but he was held up, before Holmes’ grubber over the dead ball line released the pressure valve.
The wind left Queensland’s sails after that, with Kyle Feldt’s attempted short line dropout going out of bounds at his own corner post, setting up an easy Blues attacking opportunity that saw Addo-Carr cross for his game-sealing second.
Even with the match well and truly sewn up, New South Wales’ defensive desperation shone through. Feldt looked certain to score a consolation try after collecting a kick on the try line, but Brian To’o’ desperate dive and strip before he could ground it ensured the score remained 26-0 – a play that summed up the night succinctly.
Queensland Maroons – 0
NSW Blues – 26
Blues: Josh Addo-Carr 12′, 70′, Latrell Mitchell 26′, Tom Trbojevic 33′
Blues: Nathan Cleary 14′, 28′, 34′, 50′, 71′