Queensland and New South Wales travelled the breadth of Australia for the second game of this year’s State of Origin series, both with pressing reasons to win. Victory for the Queenslanders would see them retain the title from last year. New South Wales needed a win to keep the series alive for a series decider in their home territory of Sydney.
As it turned out, it was the Blues who dominated throughout the game, including periods of torrential rain, to keep their Origin hopes alive in front of a stadium-record crowd in Perth.
The very first minute gave strong hints of the game to come, with NSW having an a comfortable first set, but the Maroons ending up kicking from their own 30m at the end of their first six tackled with the all.
Two and a half minutes later, James Tedesco was held up on the line. But for all their dominance, it took until the eight-minute mark for the Blues to record their first score. Prop-cum-fullback-cum-centre Tom Trbojevic raced forward and outjumped the Queensland defence to superbly take a high and put the ball down for a try converted by Nathan Cleary.
Queensland levelled the scores with a penalty try – awarded for obstruction on centre Will Chambers by Jack Wighton – on the quarter-hour mark, converted by full back Kalyn Ponga.
But that was the only time they trouble the scoreboard operators.
The rest of the game was all New South Wales, while the Queensland side that overturned an eight-point half-time deficit to win the first game on home soil at the Sundcorp stadium just failed to put in an appearance.
Tyson Frizell got the next score, reaching out from a clutch of defenders for a try that, converted by Cleary, took the score to 12-6.
The Blues refused to let the monsoon which hit the stadium on around 25 minutes dampen their fluid ball-passing game.
Five minutes before half-time, fullback James Tedesco made a clean break down the sideline before passing inside to gift Trbojevic his second try. This time, James Maloney converted: his half back partner Cleary was clearly struggling with an ankle injury and stayed in the dressing room after the break.
It was Maloney who opened the second-half scoring with a penalty from inside the 20 on 43 minutes – a core he repeated just six minutes later after he was tackled dangerously in the air.
With 10 minutes of the second half gone, the score was 22-6 in the Blues’ favour. And, as in the first half, the NSW dominance continued.
Winger Jash Addo-Carr began a break inside his own half on 53 minutes, passed inside to Tedesco, who turned the ball inside to the ever present Trbojevic, who dotted it down under the posts for his hat-trick. Maloney’s conversion took the Blues’ lead out to 28-6.
On 57 minutes Addo-Carr grounded a grubber by Wade Graham, who had come off the bench into stand-off after Cleary’s injury. But Maloney recorded his only miss of the night, from the touchline, and the score was now 32-6.
There was a brief hope that the Maroons might at least manage a score in each half, but that was snuffed out when winger Dane Gagai was held up on the line.
It was Addo-Carr and Maloney who had the final word. The winger scored after a rolling run forward by the back line created a five-on-two attack and he grounded the ball in the corner.
This time Maloney’s touch-line conversion attempt sailed between the uprights for a final score of 38-6.
New South Wales coach Brad Fitler made seven changes to the team which lost in Quednsland, and it clearly helped. The Maroons made just two changes, forced by injury, and it clearly didn’t.
Queensland: Ponga (goal), Oates, Morgan, Chambers (penalty try), Gagai, , Munster, Cherry-Evans, Napa, Hunt, Papalii, Kaufusi, Gillet, McGuire. Interchange: Mbye, Wallace, Glasby, Fifita.
New South Wales: Tedesco, Ferguson, T,Trbojevic (3 tries), Wighton, Addo-Carr (2 tries), Maloney (3 goals, 2 penalties) , Cleary (2 goals) , Safiti, Cook, J. Trbojevic, Cordner, Frizell (1 try), Finucane. Interchange: Vaughan, Sims, Murray, Graham.
Queensland 6(6) - New South Wales 38 (18)