State of Origin 2 has ended with NSW on top.
State of Origin 2 has ended with NSW on top.

The biff is back as Origin bloodbath erupts

NSW has won the State of Origin Game 2.

FULL TIME: Blues (34) destroy Maroons (10) to force decider

Rich Lamberton

Absolute clinic from NSW tonight: too big, too fast, too strong.

Oh, and who said Nathan Cleary was an Origin dud? The NRL's best player kicked Queensland to death tonight, turning Queensland's forwards around and catching their wingers off guard over and over. The best player on the field, among several brilliant performances, tonight.

A great bounce back from last week's upset loss. Here are Cleary and Walker. Cleary is the official MOTM.

CLEARY: Definitely turned around what we kind of labelled as what we were doing wrong and Kodi was on fire tonight. I thought everyone had a really good game. Forwards laid the platform. We just needed to finish the sets and thought we did that a lot better.

WALKER: My little mate here is very similar to my No.7 at the Rabbitohs. What we wanted to do, we wanted to improve on where we finish our sets, build a lot of pressure and put fatigue into the opposition and we certainly done that. We showed our intent in the very first defensive set off the kickoff. An awesome performance, but means nothing if we don't back it up next week.


CLEARY: We spoke about during the week we weren't too happy where we were finishing our sets down in Adelaide. That's what Origin football is all about, where you turnover the ball. It is that live football. When you've got Fox and that on the wings, you can kind of utilise it. We just wanted to work together and try to get spots on the field where we thought we would get our best kicks off. I thought we did that pretty well.


WALKER: I think we blocked that out pretty well this week. That's the pleasure of kind of being away in camp, surrounded by a great bunch of blokes, great coaching staff and just have to focus on ourselves and it's no different this week. We haven't done anything yet, still got a game to win up in Queensland. That is all our focus this week.

The Munster question

Rich Lamberton

The game is locked in an arm wrestle with the result decided - we're heading to Suncorp Stadium for the decider. But Cameron Munster's availability will be the biggest talking point post-match for the Queenslanders. Can they win without him? Probably not. That's how important he is to this Queensland side. Considering all the attention surrounding Boyd Cordner and concussion the last seven days it's highly unlikely he'll be on the field next week.

TRY! Big Papa stops the bleeding for QLD

Rich Lamberton

They're back … Josh Papalii latches on to lovely ball from Daly Cherry-Evans and the Maroons are back in this (kind of). There'll be no Queensland miracle tonight but they can go a long way to preparing for a better performance next week.

"That was a beautiful line by Josh Papalii on the outside shoulder. Nice pass by Daly Cherry-Evans."

BLUES HIT BACK! But it's one step forward, two step sback for Queensland at the minute as Josh Addo-Carr pounces on a beautiful grubber from Cody Walker. Incredible scenes at ANZ Stadium in the second half.

"It's the Foxx's eighth try in Origin. Cody Walker, lovely kick. Great bounce for Addo-Carr."
"That's why he's in the team, the craft of Cody Walker just puts it on a dime and Joshua Addo-Carr, well, he chases everything. Phillip Sami just relaxed for a moment and the Foxx snuck in behind him."

66th minute: NSW 32, QLD 10

IT'S ON! Payne v Tino throw them

Rich Lamberton

Payne Haas and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui , the old Queensland schoolboy rivals, have made good on their pre-game promise … and they've thrown plenty!

They've both been sent to the bin. PAUL KENT GOT HIS WISH!

Quotes from earlier in the week: "Tino went hunting for Haas that night at Homebush and he sat him on his arse," said Fa'asuamaleaui's manager Simon Mammino.

"Payne was the big dog at schoolboy level so Tino took him on - that's the competitor he is.

"Tino first came up against Payne 12 months earlier (in 2016) in a Queensland Schoolboys state carnival at Pizzey Park and Tino went after him.

"The following year, they faced each other in that Queensland-NSW under-18s game at Homebush and Tino was outstanding.

"He wouldn't back down against Haas and he ended up getting named Queensland's players' player.

"Payne was always bigger and better than his opponents at junior level but Tino was never afraid to have a crack.

"He loves a challenge, so he wanted to test himself by calling out Haas."

TRY! Tupou strolls over untouched

Rich Lamberton

Nathan Brown smashes Jake Friend with his first touch. The dam is about to break here and there it is! TUPOU has strolled over off a mid-field scrum for his first Origin try. Speed kills in origin and the Blues are in fifth gear. "It's like shelling peas," says Joey about NSW's attack from the scrum.

"Surely they get there and change it up. You don't need a message from your coach, you just change it while you're out there. They've got four attackers, three defenders, they get to Cherry-Evans, creates the overlap on the outside. It's like shelling peas. It's too easy."

"It was a great line by Jack Wighton. Just watch Jack Wighton, just engage Dane Gagai enough, create the space for Tedesco on the outside and Tupou probably could have scored off the last scrum, but he took the percentage play and gets his try this time.

"Well, someone's got to show some leadership out there. Daly Cherry- Evans or Valentine Holmes, someone in that back line that needs to talk, they need to be able to see this. They're obviously seeing 4 verse 3. You've got players like Tedesco coming at you with speed."

Cleary misses his first conversion of the match.

54th minute: NSW 28, QLD 4

TRY! Blues strike early in the second half

Rich Lamberton

Queensland are shot. There'll be no 'never say die' comeback tonight. Jack Wighton with a little jink and he carries Gagai and Coates to score his first State of Origin try. Cleary can't miss!

"Great start by the Blues. Nice play by Cody Walker. Just catches and passes and gives Jack Wighton some early ball but it was set up by Damien Cook. Cook gets out of dummy half."

"The Queensland defence line turns back and then look at Walker, catch and pass, gets his outside man one-on-one and then Jack Wighton, great finish.

"Built bit of redemption from Jack Wighton. All the talk from Game One was Dane Gagai. He wanted redemption. He get as four-pointer. "

2nd minute: NSW 24, QLD 4

Queensland left-side defence shot

Rich Lamberton

- Cleary silencing his critics with early MOTM performance, Addo-Carr not far behind

- Yet to hear if Frizell passed his HIA

- Munster KO hurt Queensland big time

- Queensland's left-side defence is shot. Sami v Foxx is an absolute mis-match

TRY! Addo-Carr waltzes over the line

Rich Lamberton

Too easy from the Blues. Mid-field scrum 10m out and it's just too easy from NSW. Queensland's left-side defence is a shambles and more points will come should they persist.

Blues all over Maroons

Rich Lamberton

Mistake after mistake from Queensland, they're gifting the Blues a mountain of possession and territory and it's only a matter of time before something gives. WOW. Queensland have defended three consecutive sets. The seem to have abandoned attacking Capewell and Sami in favour of Tupou's side.

Cleary is kicking Queensland to death! Pinpoint kick from 60 out forces another line drop out. TEDDDYYYY is just short. Six again … Queensland in real trouble here.

Frizell opened up after sickening head clash

Rich Lamberton

Frizell and Addo-Carr involved in an ugly head clash … and it's Friz who comes off second best. The backrower will be taken from the field.

"Blood coming from Tyson's head."
"Josh must have a pretty hard head! Who would you back coming off second best? You'd always say Josh would but he got Frizell.
Got him right above the eye. Might be the haircut!"

TRY! Captain Ted slices through

Rich Lamberton

A brilliant early kick from Cleary forces a line drop out. Great chase from the Foxx. TRY! Captain Tedesco … too easy for the game's best player. A jink, a step and the Blues are on fire!

Munster fails HIA - he won't be back

Rich Lamberton

Queensland is all over NSW early. Brilliant early kick from Ben Hunt buries the Blues deep in their half. Winning the battle of field position. NSW is too eager to get off the line and they are paying for it in territory and possession. That three penalties inside the ten. Maroons on the attack. Blues hanging with desperate defence and earn a relieving penalty. Referee Sutton is holding a long ten. Cleary breaks the line … that's his first in Origin!

News from the Maroons sheds … MUNSTER has failed his HIA and won't return.

TRY! Blues hit back through Walker

Rich Lamberton

NSW are on the scoreboard! A bit of Cody Walker magic capitalises on some soft Maroons defence to dive over. They'll keep attacking Luke Capewell and Sami's side, all attack will be directed to the Blues' right side.

"That's the side they have to attack, NSW. Kurt Capewell played dynamite in Adelaide but he is a back rower defending in the centre, carrying a
groin injury. That's the area they have to attack, the Blues."

Cleary converts.

17th minute: NSW 6, QLD 4

Maroons dominating possession

Rich Lamberton

Queensland is all over NSW early. Brilliant early kick from Ben Hunt buries the Blues deep in their half. Winning the battle of field position. NSW is too eager to get off the line and they are paying for it in territory and possession. That three penalties inside the ten. Maroons on the attack

TRY! Mini GI scores one of the great Origin tries

Rich Lamberton

Queensland force a mid-field error from Josh Addo-Carr who, on replays, had the ball stripped. But they were too slow with the captain's challenge.

Queensland on the attack. Su'a nearly bursts through! They swing it back to the middle before turning it right! WHAT A TRY! Xavier Coates clears for takeoff, launching into the sky before slamming it down just inside the corner post.

KICK OFF: Munster taken off in opening 2 minutes

Rich Lamberton

Game II is underway! And it's heavy contact from the Blues who have forced Queensland to kick from their 20. Great opening defensive set hands the Blues an early territory win. MUNSTER SAVES THE DAY! Munster is wobbly after cracking his head on the deck after defusing an in-goal kick. He's off for an HIA.

Queensland work their way down the field on the back of a six-again penalty. TRY SAVER! Tyson Friz cuts Papalli in half, forcing the error on his own tryline. Great start.

Karl Stefanovic butchers team names amid 'cringeworthy' banter

Origin host and Queensland tragic Karl Stefanovic has been panned by fans for failing to pronounce names properly when reading out the Queensland team for Game II.

The Queensland super fan will have wished he studied the team list pronunciations in the lead-up to the game after he made a number of glaring errors on the Channel 9 and fans flocked to Twitter to pull him up on it.

"Karl Stefanovic should never be allowed to cover another rugby league game ever again, more names wrong than right," One fan tweeted.

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Social media users also took aim at the decision to use the Today host on the Origin coverage, as many of his gags fell flat in the pre-game buildup. - Mark St John 


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THE FINAL WORD: A pre-game classic from Gussy Gould!

Rich Lamberton

GUS GOULD: "Ask any of our game's champion players what wins Origin matches, I guarantee you not one of them will say talent. They will use words like 'courage', 'toughness', 'togetherness', doing the simple things well. What wins Origin is individual and collective effort. Effort builds self-belief. Belief that you can win."

"You see, Origin is not a game of club football. It's different. And no-one knows this better than Wayne Bennett. Just before half time in game one, you could see him itching to speak to his young team. This so-called less-talented Maroon team. Now everyone's asking: So what did Wayne say? Well, its brilliance is in its simplicity. He'll be saying the same thing: Play tough, play together, keep it simple. That's Wayne's way. This great Origin coach knows how to instill a belief in his team.

"The team that thinks the longest, the team that believes the longest, the team that believes the longest will win. Of course, Brad Fittler knows this as well. His team stopped believing. They buckled under the relentless Maroon intensity. They looked at the scoreboard and panicked. Tonight: Don't look at the scoreboard. Just play. You can't play on nerves. You can't play on fear. You can't play on hope. Tonight, build pressure. Play by play. Set by set. Kick, chase, tackle. Be relentless. It's exhausting but it's what will Origin tonight."

Welcome to country understood

  Rich Lamberton

Channel 9 seems to have learnt its lesson over its shabby treatment of the Welcome to Country address during Origin I last week.

Viewers savaged the host broadcaster for cutting away from the Indigenous Welcome to Country ceremony in Adelaide to go to a pre-match interview between Karl Stefanovic and eighth Immortal Andrew Johns.

But there was no such mistake tonight as the entire ceremony was shown in full, including an impressive didgeridoo performance from the roof of ANZ Stadium.

Especially during NAIDOC Week and just days after Federal Parliament voted down a motion for the Aboriginal Flag and Torres Strait Islander flag to be hung with the Australian flag in the Senate.

Luckily NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is flying the flag in this department, this week calling for a change to the lyrics of the national anthem to better acknowledge the nation's proud Indigenous history.

The Maroons skipper speaks

Rich Lamberton

DANIKA: Many wrote you off last week. You proved them wrong. What gives you the confidence you can do it again tonight?
DCE: Look, I mean obviously getting game one builds confidence so we're just
hopeful we've learnt enough lessons from last year. It's a different series so you've got to take each game on its merits. They're going to be better tonight but we're hoping we've made improve mentes which will see us win.
DANIKA: How much emphasis was placed on starting well?
DCE: We were 10-0 down but gave us confidence coming over the top of them. A great start would be nice tonight but it doesn't matter how we get it done, we are here to get the job done. We have seen a very relaxed Wayne Bennett in recent weeks.
DANIKA: How is he in camp?
DCE: He is good. Still playing cards with the boys. He is going to great.

A relaxed Freddy Fittler speaks

JOEY: Tight turnaround, how's that impacted the preparations?
FREDDY: If anything, less time to think about what's happened in Adelaide. A good thing. It wasn't too hard to work out what went wrong and what we need to change and just make sure we need to up the ante and not wait for it to happen.
JOEY: Freddy, the difference between pressure leading into a big game as a player and as a coach, can you describe it?
FREDDY: I think the body feels the same. You still get those nerves but I think as a player, you've got to put your body on the line. As a coach, you don't quite get that luxury, if you want to call it a luxury, but also there is an unknown which alter things a little bit. Both extremely exciting and really grateful to be able to do that.
JOEY: Really windy in the stadium. Has that been spoke about?
FREDDY: It has. Fast track, similar to grand final night. Not sure there is going to be any dew. She swells around a little bit when we went out there but it had an impact. 

Freddy Fittler & Blues Mascot Bruce
Freddy Fittler & Blues Mascot Bruce


NSW: 1. James Tedesco (c) 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Clint Gutherson 4. Jack Wighton 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cody Walker 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Damien Cook 10. Payne Haas 11. Angus Crichton 12. Tyson Frizell 13. Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: 14. Dale Finucane 15. Junior Paulo 16. Nathan Brown* 17. Isaah Yeo* Coach: Brad Fittler
QLD: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Xavier Coates 3. Kurt Capewell 4. Dane Gagai 5. Phillip Sami 6. Cameron Munster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (c) 8. Dunamis Lui* 9. Jake Friend 10. Josh Papalii 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Jaydn Su'A 13. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui. Interchange: 14. Ben Hunt 15. Lindsay Collins 16. Jai Arrow 17. Moeaki Fotuaika* Coach: Wayne Bennett *debut

Tupou jumped over David Williams to score in the 2013 decider. Picture: Ryan Pierse
Tupou jumped over David Williams to score in the 2013 decider. Picture: Ryan Pierse

Gus Gould 'not calling the game':  Is this just Gus being Gus? Whether you like him or not, the bloke is a fine twitter troll. But there's one thing I'm certain of, collectively, Origin fans will be OK with Gould sitting this one out. Gould came under serious fire after his biased Grand Final call. Wearing his Panthers jersey while in the commentary box, Gould was lambasted for his one-eyed call of NRL's showpiece, regularly complaining about the officials before making the stunning claim Penrith was 'winning' the game despite being on the wrong side of the scoreboard. "I'm not calling the game tonight," he wrote on Twitter. "Andrew Johns and Billy Slater are doing the honours. I'm just watching tonight. Looking forward to it." "Andrew called Origin II last year. He deserves to call these big games," Gould added. "He is the future." Anyway, NSW's most successful coach didn't call Game II last year … feet up for the great man, I guess. - Rich Lamberton  


Gus Gould will not be calling tonight's State of Origin game two.
Gus Gould will not be calling tonight's State of Origin game two.


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