Dylan Napa of the Queensland Maroons is held up by the Blues defence.
Dylan Napa of the Queensland Maroons is held up by the Blues defence. DAVE HUNT

Analysis: What the Maroons must change for Origin II

INSTEAD of sinking a couple of cold XXXXs after Origin I, Queensland's coaching staff dived into an immediate review of the team's performance.

While any punter watching from their lounge could tell you Andrew Fifita tore the Maroons' middle to pieces, the review of the game was an assessment of their own players.

The focus for much of the review was repeat efforts, or as you may have heard the players say before, "effort on effort".

Think about how often you see Johnathan Thurston defending on one edge and two plays later he's on the opposite side of the field helping save a try. It's that kind of commitment the Maroons staff highlighted in their second viewing of the game.

Players who tracked the ball throughout the game will be safe when it comes to selection for game two. Those men did the "one percenters" or "little things" you hear about in the press conferences.

The things the Maroons staff were attempting to highlight are difficult to measure or record with stats.

With an equal share of possession after 80 minutes, those "little things" become huge in the grand scheme of the game.

While the staff were pleased with the performance in the first half, for the most part, the wheels fell off in the final 40.

Defensively the Maroons missed 51 tackles to the Blues' 37.

Justin O'Neill, brought into the Maroons team for his defence, was the worst.

He missed eight tackles.

That's equally as many as Blues playmaker James Maloney.

The Maroons' review highlighted five of those missed tackles by O'Neill as costly, although not all of them were purely his fault.

The Queenslanders defend using a "pendulum system", which is thrown out of whack if a winger is out of position.

 

Aidan Guerra of the Maroons makes a run.
Aidan Guerra of the Maroons makes a run. DAVE HUNT

Dane Gagai is said to have broken the defensive system twice, which contributed to mistakes by O'Neill.

But Gagai was brilliant in his yardage carries.

Those runs out of your own 20m zone are referred to as "no talent required" duties. It's dirty work. By that it's meant there's nothing glamorous about it but it needs to be done.

The other main point highlighted in the review was the field position when it came to fifth-tackle kicks.

Mitchell Pearce has been criticised by some for his tactic of bombing to the wing of Corey Oates.

The Blues made 143 more kick metres than the Maroons.

The Maroons' review determined the plan by the Blues' No.7 to be a good one as he often landed the ball in an area referred to as the "prison yard".

The prison yard is a 10m by 10m area in the corner of the field between the goal line and 10m line.

The Blues were often kicking for this space, while the Maroons were forced to do clearing kicks far too often.

This meant James Tedesco getting ball around his 30m line from kicks to start the NSW set.

So what does all this mean to the Maroons?

Defending within their structure is key. They were getting numbers in tackles and slowing the play the ball down in the opening 20 before cracks started to appear.

The most disappointing try was the one to Jarryd Hayne in the 60th minute and their field position for kicks needs to improve.

No one will publicly declare mass changes are afoot but it's safe to say several things will be done differently come Origin II.

News Corp Australia


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