NSW Blues v QLD Maroons
Game III – player ratings
Queensland gave champion fullback Billy Slater a nice send off by defeating New South Wales 18-12 in the final game of the State Of Origin series.
Although the series was already lost, this match was anything but a ‘dead rubber’ as both sides produced performances of epic propositions that will live long in the memories of both players and fans alike.
The result was set up in the opening 40 minutes when Queensland enjoyed a glut of possession and penalties. Coupled with smart plays from the likes of Daly Cherry-Evans, they pounded the Blues line with repeat sets of six which would eventually tell in the second half.
Despite the huge workload, New South Wales went into the break 12-8 up and that was with James Maloney off the field!
The Queenslanders kept their composure in the second 40 though and the tiring Blues defence, along with some silly penalties, paved the way for the series to finish 2-1 and Slater to lead his side to a farewell win.
NEW SOUTH WALES – player ratings
JAMES TEDESCO (7.5) – took time to work into the game but defensively was huge. Threw the intercept that led to the opening try but was excellent after that and scored just before half-time.
TOM TRBOJEVIC (8) – was one of the Blues best. Continually took pressure off the forwards, scored off an intercept and was a menace in attack. Ran for 235 metres!
LATRELL MITCHELL (6) – struggled to get into the game and missed the tackle on Billy Slater which gave Queensland the go-ahead try.
JAMES ROBERTS (7) – had a little bit more space to attack in this game but didn’t really get the opportunities he would’ve liked. Was a beast in defence though and kept Dane Gagai in check for most of the game.
JOSH ADDO-CARR (7.5) – pulled off a couple of great defensive plays on Will Chambers to keep the Blues in the game. Kept helping out his tiring forwards throughout the game and busted them open late to give New South Wales a chance to level the scores.
JAMES MALONEY (6) – his sin-binning put immense pressure on the Blues in the back end of the first half. Wasn’t as influential in attack as he was in Games I and II but pulled off a few defensive masterstrokes to keep the Maroons at bay. Made five errors though.
NATHAN CLEARY (6.5) – did what he had to and tried valiantly but couldn’t give the Blues the spark in attack when the rare opportunities came up in the second half.
DAVID KLEMMER (6.5) – made plenty of metres once again but gave away a silly penalty when it looked as though New South Wales would score. Was made to pay when Queensland capitalised shortly after.
DAMIEN COOK (8) – was great once again and appears as though he has cemented his spot as the Blues rack for quite some time. How good was his bust early in the match when his side were in trouble? Set up Tedesco’s try.
PAUL VAUGHAN (6) – was the Blues best when under siege in the opening 20 minutes but wasn’t sighted after that.
BOYD CORDNER (8) – tried his guts out and led the Blues from the front. Kept taking hit ups when he needed to and although was getting smashed, just kept on coming back for more.
TYSON FRIZELL (7) – ran hard each and every time he got the ball. Chased valiantly to try and get Valentine Holmes after the inception and although never looked likely to get him, kept chasing until the end.
JACK DE BELIN (7) – didn’t get a great deal of time on the field but looked good when he was out there both defensively and from an attacking perspective.
TARIQ SIMS (6) – made a huge impact when coming off the bench, taking a number of bit hit ups and bruising the Maroons with some punishing tackles. His brain snap when tackling Ben Hunt, giving away a penalty, dropped his rating because Queensland went on to score off.
JAKE TRBOJEVIC (7.5) – just keeps going and going. Never shirked his task, took hit up after hit up and pulled off some great defensive plays.
ANGUS CRICHTON (6) – was okay but didn’t have the impact that Brad Filtler would’ve liked. Had the chance to set up a Blues try midway through the second half which could have turned the game, however, held the ball too long and threw it behind James Roberts with a try begging.
TYRONE PEACHEY (5) – couldn’t get into the game. Was injected onto the field late but with fatiguing teammates all around him, could do very little with the ball.
QUEENSLAND – player ratings
BILLY SLATER (8.5) – showed he still has what it takes to break a game open. Was a big threat to the Blues defence when getting involved with the ball, especially in the second half as the game started to break open.
VALENTINE HOLMES (8.5) – bagged a double and pulled off two intercepts to cap off a great night for the flyer. Intercept Tedesco’s pass to score and then pulled one off Maloney when the Blues were attacking late in the game.
WILL CHAMBERS (7.5) – much better tonight and probably his best game of the series. Solid defensively and got his team a few repeat sets of six with some nice plays.
DANE GAGAI (6.5) – couldn’t really get into the game from an attacking perspective after being contained by James Roberts. Put his hand up constantly to help out the tiring forwards though and still racked up 183 metres – a Qld best for the night.
COREY OATES (5) – not a happy night for him in his return to Origin. Struggled to get into the game and came up with a few errors.
CAMERON MUNSTER (7.5) – a mixed bag but still deserves a high rating. Threw the intercept that Trbojevic scored from but sliced through the tiring Blues in the second half to set up a crucial try.
DALY CHERRY-EVANS (8.5) – arguably the best player on the field. Got Qld more than their share of repeats sets of six thanks to his great kicking game in the Blues in goal. Kept the defence guessing all night and scored the match-winning try.
JAI ARROW (7) – tough effort throughout the night, making a couple off offloads and racking up 100 running metres.
ANDREW MCCULLOUGH (7) – was great early on and mixed up his style by running from dummy half on a few occasions. Replaced by Ben Hunt after that but still had an impact.
JOSH PAPALII (7) – not his finest game but plays hard and lifted the forwards when needed. Only Gavin Cooper made more running metres than him from a forwards perspective.
GAVIN COOPER (7.5) – was the engine room of the Maroons pack tonight. Made 31 tackles, ran for 125 metres and set up Cherry-Evans match winner.
FELISE KAUFUSI (7) – was heavily involved early but faded out of the game as the match wore on. Played with plenty of intensity though and looked as though he could still break the line at full-time.
JOSH MAGUIRE (7.5) – much better effort from him tonight. Constantly took on the Blues forwards and was a standout in both defence and attack. Totally misread the attack right on half-time to leave Tedesco to score unmarked which was the one lowlight for him.
BEN HUNT (7) – responded with his dumping from the starting line-up with a performance more like the Ben Hunt we know. Replaced McCullough and was the extra spark in attack that the Maroons needed from the ruck.
COEN HESS (7) – kept taking the ball up when his team needed. Didn’t catch the eye with anything fancy though but did his job.
JARROD WALLACE (6.5) – did what he had to but lacked the necessary bite that was needed at times. Was solid though.
TIM GLASBY (6) – like Peachey for the Blues, struggled to get into the match but did what he had to when he came on. Made 22 tackles in a limited amount of time.