Blog with James Hooper below from 12pm AEDT.
Nathan Cleary produced the most complete performance of his 12-match State of Origin career but it was the return of Jake Trbojevic that allowed the NSW Blues to come roaring back into the State of Origin series.
Of the five changes the Blues made in a bid to level the series, it was the recall of Jake Turbo where the real genius lies.
Champion rugby league players often talk about Origin plays and Origin players and in the hard-working Trbojevic NSW has a genuine blue chip worker to build the rest of their game around.
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In the same way everything Queensland touched turned to gold in Origin I, the Blues senior players clearly had a fire lit inside of them and responded accordingly in Perth.
Blues halfback Cleary, captain James Tedesco and Trbojevic all played off the charts while the selection shake-up to allow Matt Burton and Api Korisau into the starting side was vindicated.
As much as they’ll enjoy the win the Blues are well aware of the monumental challenge facing them in Origin III at Suncorp Stadium.
Blues coach Brad Fittler was quick to point out after the Origin II win NSW has only won once at Suncorp Stadium in the past four years.
So to win the series the Blues are going to have to find a number of extra gears.
There’s no question the sin binning of Felise Kaufusi had a huge bearing on the final score with the Blues able to turn a 12-8 deficit into a 44-12 landslide.
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The Blues had a whopping 59 per cent of possession according to the Fox League Lab and were able to build the foundations of the lopsided win off the back off it.
NSW ran for almost double the amount of metres of the Maroons – 1600m compared to 878m for the Maroons.
On the flip side Queensland also had to make 311 tackles to the Blues with 226 as the ruck dominance the Maroons established in Origin I was flipped on its head.
The byproduct of the Kaufusi sin binning and all the possession and field position was the Maroons got tired in defence and missed a whopping 56 tackles.
There’s fat chance of that happening in Origin III in Brisbane.
What made the performances of Cleary, Tedesco and Jake Turbo so exemplary was the way they were in the game from the get go and when NSW were trailing on the scoreboard it was this trio who worked the hardest to get the Blues back on the front foot.
The turnaround for Origin III will be swift with only one round of club football in round 16 of the NRL before the teams are selected for the Origin series decider.
The Blues showed they are prepared to take risks when it comes to winning by making five changes leading into Origin II and there’s no question if Jack Wighton is available they’ll explore their options in terms of finding a way to get him into the 17.
Queensland will grow another three legs returning home after the comprehensive NSW win and will be a completely different proposition at Suncorp Stadium.
As always, State of Origin has once again delivered as rugby league’s showpiece event.
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