The New South Wales Blues have performed a dramatic clean sweep of the 2021 State of Origin series, holding Queensland scoreless at Suncorp Stadium in Game 2. Here are the player ratings for New South Wales.
1. James Tedesco: 9/10
Tedesco reminded everyone why he is the best fullback in the game on Sunday night, hammering the Maroons at every turn.
While excellent in defence, Tedesco made waves in attack, running for 234 metres and assisting a pair of tries. Not just that, but he had a hand in plenty of the Blues’ attacks. A threat all night and one the Maroons simply couldn’t maintain.
Tedesco has a mortgage on both blue, and the green and gold number one jumpers for as long as he wants them.
2. Brian To’o: 7.5
To’o may not have been as good as he was in Game 1, but then, it isn’t expected to play like that two games on the bounce.
He was still outstanding, cracking 200 metres once again and doing what Brian To’o does week in and week out on both ends of the park at club level, despite not having nearly as many opportunities as his teammates on the other edge.
Defensively, To’o was one of the Blues’ best.
3. Latrell Mitchell: 8.5
Best on ground in Game 1, and only denied the honour in Game 2 because former teammate James Tedesco went to another level.
Mitchell was everywhere once again, particularly during what was an outstanding first half. His intercept and length of the field run for the second try flipped any chance of Queensland wrestling back momentum, while he also came up with a big strip in the lead-up to the first try for Josh Addo-Carr.
4. Tom Trbojevic: 8
Trbojevic had a try and 170 metres in Game 2. He proves oh so dangerous when he is allowed to roam around the field as he has been in the Blues system.
It’s his defence that should win the wraps from the contest though, particularly an effort in the corner as Queensland were just attempting to wrestle momentum back for a late push in the second half.
5. Josh Addo-Carr: 8
Addo-Carr was unbelievably quiet in the opener, but that was as much a result of the Blues attacking the other side of the park constantly. It wasn’t the case last night though, with the Melbourne Storm winger scoring a double and being a threat all night against the Queensland defensive line.
He may have only made 105 metres, but each and every one of them were quality, with Addo-Carr grabbing three line breaks and an assist on his way to a brilliant performance.
6. Jarome Luai: 7
Maybe a little bit quiet at times, but Luai has taken to the Origin arena superbly.
In a team that scores 26 points and concedes none, it’s inevitable that the halves are going to have excellent games, and Luai did his job without overplaying his hand. He ran the ball when it was needed, looking dangerous on a few occasions, kicked well and defended strongly.
His combination with Cleary looks like it could be a long-term one for the Blues.
7. Nathan Cleary: 8.5
And speaking of Cleary, he has really come of age in this series thus far. As he has done at club level this year, it’s consistency and excellent decision making that have been highlights of his game, making everyone around him look that much better.
His kicking game was the standout in Brisbane, but he also ran the ball well and gave his outside backs every chance to make the Queenslanders pay, which they did time and time again.
8. Daniel Saifiti: 8
Saifiti’s performance was one of those that creep up on you without realising it’s happening. 54 minutes on the park is an excellent return for a prop in the Origin cauldron, but it was a quality show.
He held his own during a brutal opening quarter of an hour, then proceeded to be very dangerous with the ball in hand. He ended up with 128 metres from 15 runs, a pair of tackle busts, an offload and 34 tackles. Very solid.
9. Damien Cook: 8
Cook may have gone under the radar a little bit, but he was once again an integral part of the New South Wales spine. Cracking 40 tackles yet again, Cook’s service to his forwards allowed the Blues to play on the front foot for much of the night.
He also picked his moments to run the ball superbly, showing superb vision and excellent tenacity. The best dummy-half eligible for the men in blue by the length of the straight.
10. Junior Paulo: 6.5
There was a little bit of a worry with Paulo elevated to the starting side, however, with the exception of being rolled in the opening set of the game, he held his own against the ferocious start from Queensland.
He only played 42 minutes and didn’t quite crack 100 metres, but still had some solid runs and hit hard in defence.
11. Cameron Murray: 7.5
Another of the Blues to crack 40 tackles, Murray’s defence was outstanding in an unfamiliar position. Add to that some excellent runs of the footy, and it adds to his track record of being a superb Origin player.
Given the Blues’ overabundance of strong lock forwards, the second row is where Murray will need to find his home at Origin level, and he hasn’t let anyone down yet.
12. Tariq Sims: 7
If you could pinpoint one player who shows just how good the mood is in the Blues camp, it’s Sims. Inconsistent as anything at the Dragons and one of the only questionable selections in the New South Wales squad, he churned out his second excellent performance on the bounce in Brisbane.
Almost cracked 100 metres and defended well as he did in Game 1. He didn’t have quite as much impact with the ball, but still a strong performance.
13. Isaah Yeo: 7
Absolutely tireless in his stint of a little over an hour, the Penrith lock topped the tackle count for the Blues and ran the ball strongly when the chance presented.
Not only that, but he was an excellent distributor of the ball, creating problems all night for the Queensland defence.
14. Jack Wighton: 5
Hard to rate the bench utility who was only put onto the part for ten minutes, almost as if a token gesture. He didn’t do anything wrong though, so we will give him a pass.
15. Angus Crichton: 7.5
He didn’t miss a beat in his Origin return, matching his fellow second-rowers. Crichton pent some time in the middle too, providing 16 runs. He missed a couple of tackles, but it didn’t prove costly.
16. Payne Haas: 8
If you’re looking for Blues’ unsung heroes, then it’s hard to go past Haas.
His impact off the bench this series has been phenomenal, to the point you could almost say he put the Blues on the front foot in both contests with his immediate metre gains.
One of the best ball runners in the competition, and he showed it again on his home ground in Game 2. Could the bench be his spot in Origin?
17. Liam Martin: 5
He played a little less than half an hour, but didn’t put a foot wrong. Ran the ball hard, provided some quick play the balls and defended strongly.
Like Wighton, hard to rate, but also hard to say it wasn’t a passable effort.