Walters faces biggest test after Maroons mauled

Queensland was brutally mugged, mauled in midfield, dominated at the ruck and destroyed on the edges as NSW centre Tom Trbojevic's hat-trick inspired a 32-point drubbing.

State of Origin's historic debut in Perth descended into Blue murder as a ground-record crowd of 59,721 at Optus Stadium witnessed one of the most dominant NSW displays in the concept's 39-year history.

Eyeing an unassailable 2-0 lead, the Maroons were brutally mugged, mauled in midfield, dominated at the ruck and destroyed on the edges as NSW centre Tom Trbojevic's hat-trick inspired a 32-point drubbing.

Queensland made just 989 running metres to NSW's 1736 in a centre-field disaster.

The six-tries-to-one carve-up leaves Queensland coach Kevin Walters needing to find answers quickly to avert a second consecutive series loss in Origin III at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on July 10.

 

The Maroons were brutally mugged by the Blues in Origin II. Picture: AAP
The Maroons were brutally mugged by the Blues in Origin II. Picture: AAP

Statistically, history suggests the Maroons can hit back. In the past two deciders held at Homebush, the Maroons have won both, first in 2008 and then in 2013 during coach Mal Meninga's glorious 10-year reign.

But without champions such as Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Greg Inglis, the big question is whether this Maroons team has the class to halt the Blues on their patch.

NSW coach Brad Fittler entered this clash under siege after making seven changes, but his recall of Trbojevic and five-eighth James Maloney was emphatically vindicated.

The Maroons trailed from start to finish, again falling behind early and slumping to an 18-6 half-time deficit before they were flogged 20-0 in a dismal second-half capitulation.

This was one of Queensland's worst Origin performances since they suffered the most humiliating defeat in their history - a 56-16 rout at ANZ Stadium 19 years ago.

 

This was one of Queensland's worst Origin performances. Picture: AAP
This was one of Queensland's worst Origin performances. Picture: AAP

 

The Maroons sorely missed the workrate and energy of injured prop Jai Arrow, with Queensland badly beaten in the middle-third and never building enough pressure to trouble the Blues offensively.

While Trbojevic was the hat-trick hero, Maloney relished the big stage and fullback James Tedesco produced one of Origin's great flick passes to comprehensively outpoint Maroons superstar rival Kalyn Ponga.

Forced to deploy wet-weather football, Queensland were slower to adapt than the Blues, who belted the Maroons in midfield.

If NSW have one player that counters the supreme natural talent of Queensland whiz-kid Ponga, it is 'Tommy Turbo'.

 

Tom Trbojevic celebrates a try for the Blues. Picture: AAP
Tom Trbojevic celebrates a try for the Blues. Picture: AAP

 

While Ponga was well contained, Trbojevic was sublime. His second try five minutes before the break was a crushing sucker-punch. Fullback James Tedesco skipped across field, got on the outside of Michael Morgan and his inside ball released Trbojevic, who streaked away to give the Blues an 18-6 half-time lead.

Queensland's problem all night was not their completion rate (75 per cent), but rather what they did when they had the ball.

The Maroons lacked offensive energy, badly missed the industry of Arrow, failed to build pressure and rued some poorly executed kicks from skipper Daly Cherry-Evans.

 

Daly Cherry-Evans and the Maroons had a night to forget. Picture: Getty Images
Daly Cherry-Evans and the Maroons had a night to forget. Picture: Getty Images

 

In State of Origin, fundamental ill-discipline loses games. Queensland dug their own grave.

At one stage, the Maroons conceded five consecutive penalties, the most ridiculous coming in the 50th minute when Jarrod Wallace took out Maloney and was subsequently hooked by coach Walters.

Thriving on midfield dominance, the Blues went for the jugular and when Tedesco released Trbojevic with a superb 55th-minute flick pass, Turbo had his hat-trick and the Maroons had a massive migraine at 28-6.

Now Walters faces his biggest test yet - winning a decider on Sydney soil.

NEW SOUTH WALES 38 (T Trbojevic 3 J Addo-Carr 2 T Frizell tries J Maloney 5 N Cleary 2 goals) bt QUEENSLAND 6 (1 penalty try) (W Chambers try K Ponga goal) at Optus Stadium. Referee: Gerard Sutton, Ashley Klein. Crowd: 59,721

News Corp Australia


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