June 28, 2017

Up The Hoist: Can Queensland salvage the series?

05 June 2017, 06:08 | Archie Newman

Holmes can't see himself in Maroon yet

Thurston, Slater on track for Origin return

"But we know we come here with a very good side and one that is capable of a great performance".

Beveridge was a personal guest of Queensland coach Kevin Walters thanks to a connection through sponsor EML.

Walters said he needs more than that for the Maroons, backing Milford to handle everything thrown at him defensively and hoping he gets some early carries running off the back of master organiser Cooper Cronk.

But he scored a super-important try (see below) and his place in assured for Game 2.

Queensland came close to opening the scoring in the fifth minute through Oates but NSW turned the tables on their next visit into attacking territory, when Maloney ran on to an offload from his Cronulla teammate Fifita through the centre of the park to score under the bar, before converting for a 6-0 lead after seven minutes.

The goal line fumble straight into the arms of Fifita for a fourth Blues try "sealed it" according to his skipper Smith, and with Val Holmes and Billy Slater somehow not in the original line-up, no one can genuinely expect O'Neill to keep them out of the next one.

Walters hit back, though, saying Daley's complaints were a case of the Blues coach "doing his best for NSW". They played with a controlled ferocity and limit-pushing speed that the Maroons could not cope.

The tryscorers were Ettingshausen - who blubbered in the arms of Paul Gallen when Cronulla finally won a premiership previous year - NSW assistant coach John Cartwright and now Canberra boss Ricky Stuart.

A first half try-saver on James Tedesco proved the pick of them.

"Those little movements around the middle of the ruck were the ones that cost us more than anything".

Making his first appearance for NSW since 2014, Hayne picked up nearly right where he left off with an impressive display.

The second half was a more open affair and was all New South Wales. Indeed he had never won an Origin match in six attempts at Suncorp.

And rookie prop Napa believes the return of Johnathan Thurston won't make a difference either if the Maroons forwards are again unable to match NSW in effort.

Away from State of Origin week, Queenslanders are actually very nice people - I'll even admit to having a couple as friends.

"The guys that were in that side, you don't want to write them off".

What changes would you like to see from the Maroons before game two?

"He'll be the headline in the paper tomorrow.Slater with a bit of individual brilliance", Triple M's Dan Ginnane said.

But an exhausted Cameron Smith missed a straightforward conversion to leave them trailing by two before a Pearce and Maloney found another ball-playing Blues forward, Wade Graham, who put Tedesco through a hole, leading to Pearce's try on the stroke of half-time.

"We've got to try and limit those opportunities we give Queensland by making sure that we're disciplined".

Jarryd Hayne was also great for the Blues - especially in attack, less so defensively - in his return to the fray after two missed series while he chased his lifelong National Football League dream (and other dreams which may or may not have lurked inside him quite as long).

"There wasn't a wrong decision they could have made but they have gone that way and whether they stick with that I don't know".

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