James Tedesco was always just out of reach. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
James Tedesco was always just out of reach. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

Exuberant Blues too much for Maroons

BRAD Fittler's baby Blues proved speed kills after exposing Queensland's bumbling forwards to put the Maroons dynasty on the rocks.

Fittler's risky decision to blood 11 Origin debutants under the bright lights of the MCG proved fruitful as New South Wales produced a 22-12 victory to leave Queensland searching for answers.

The Blues boasted just 39 games of Origin experience between them but proved youth, speed and skill can be the catalyst to crushing Queensland's three-year winning streak.

 

Queensland simply had too many passengers, particularly in their engine room.

While NSW's Test prop David Klemmer charged for 104m in the opening 20 minutes, Maroons opposite Jarrod Wallace had just two runs for 16m.

Wallace (26m) and Dylan Napa (94m) had little impact with the ball, Queensland's only threatening forwards being lock Josh McGuire and debutant Felise Kaufusi.

In his first series as NSW coach, Fittler had a simple game plan. If the Blues held their own in the middle they had the talent to expose Queensland.

Damien Cook had the vision to exploit the space. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
Damien Cook had the vision to exploit the space. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

Hooker Damien Cook exposed Queensland perfectly, catching out some slow marker defence for the Blues to score first through Tedesco, NSW's best player with an electrifying performance.

Just as NSW looked to turn the screws, Queensland winger Valentine Holmes came up with a match-changing play, plucking an intercept from Blues five-eighth James Maloney to race 90m and score against the run of play.

The Blues finished the first half with a 90 per cent completion rate and 54 per cent of possession but held just an 8-6 lead, a lean reward for their discipline.

 

Jarrod Wallace summed up Queensland’s struggle. (Adam Head)
Jarrod Wallace summed up Queensland’s struggle. (Adam Head)

Like usual, Queensland was hanging in and when Maloney made another mistake they pounced through Dane Gagai.

The Maroons didn't have the firepower to match the young Blues but they did what Queensland does best - never give in.

Queensland tackled with more intent. Despite trailing 18-12 after quick tries to Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic, the Maroons worked into an arm wrestle and started to swing momentum.

Queensland was winning the arm wrestle but unlike throughout their 11 series wins in the past 12 years there four key ingredients missing.

The absence of Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater was telling. When the Maroons were look for some magic there was no-one there to produce it.

If Queensland was to win a fourth straight series they needed to shock the Baby Blues and make them realise what Origin is all about.

Instead, NSW will head to ANZ Stadium in Sydney on June 24 with an added shot of confidence to go with speed, skill and youth.

 

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