Darius Boyd
Darius Boyd DAN PELED

Origin Game 1: Queensland report card

IT ended as the biggest pantsing in Queensland's history on their own turf.

What coach Kevin Walters does next will determine whether it's the definitive end to the single greatest era Origin has seen.

Because wherever he looked across the board, it wasn't pretty. Not least the seismic calls made by the coach himself 10 days earlier.

 

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith DAVE HUNT

FORWARDS

Weighed. Measured. And found wanting. The gulf between the two Origin packs has ebbed back and forth in recent years, but here it was blown to Kingdom Come.

 

 

With no Matt Scott the Queensland resistance lasted all of five minutes, despite rookie Dylan Napa shooting out of the line like Donald Trump at a NATO summit.

Along with Josh Papalii, Napa did the most damage early on while the Maroons remained in it - producing 59 and 48 running metres respectively in their first stints.

 

 

Elsewhere Nate Myles was willing, but largely ineffective - summing up the veteran's stocks and putting him firmly in the firing line.

Josh McGuire went about his work - 112 metres and 43 tackles diligently, but Matt Gillett and Cam Smith won't enjoy watching that one back.

Typically among Queensland's most bankable big gamers, Gillett tallied six missed tackles for the match and five in the first 20 minutes, including a manhandling from Andrew Fifita that led to the Blues first try.

 

 

Smith meanwhile was found out trailing on the inside in defence for NSW's second - the killer blow on the stroke of halftime.

Unable to spark his side behind a beaten pack, the skipper managed just one run in his 40th Origin, though his 43 tackles did restore his customary position atop the tackle count.

Mark: 5/10

 

Anthony Milford
Anthony Milford DAVE HUNT

HALVES

Not much to be done behind a pack so plainly outgunned, especially when half your scrumbase pairing is taken out by friendly fire.

Anthony Milford will do well to remember much of his interstate debut after being cleaned up by Corey Oates, claiming an eye for an eye in the same calamitous play where Will Chambers took Mitchell Pearce's head off.

 

 

The Maroons were down 18-4 and up against it at that point, but Milford's fleet feet had just started to hint he could tear a tired NSW defence apart.

A couple of darts prior to halftime showed the promise he was picked on, but that's as far as the kid got.

 

 

Senior man Cooper Cronk looked equally likely whenever he came down Jarryd Hayne's left channel, creating the space for two of Queensland's five line-breaks.

His pinpoint cross field kick for Oates produced the Maroons only points for the night, but beyond that there wasn't much more to be done.

Mark: 6/10

 

 

 

Will Chambers
Will Chambers DAVE HUNT

BACKS

 

 

Flankmen Corey Oates and Dane Gagai can hold their heads highest out of this Maroons mob.

With 249 metres, 12 tackle busts and Oates' four-pointer between them, Queensland's wingers proved their best performers with strong efforts under the high ball to boot.

One step inside them Will Chambers more than held his own in a running battle with Josh Dugan - finishing with a surprising 188 metres and eight tackle busts.

 

 

But Justin O'Neill was given the bath of his life by Jarryd Hayne, and won't be seen again at this level for a while yet.

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.

Much like the rest of the spine, Darius Boyd never got much of a look-in, though had some fine moments in defence.

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

Mark: 6.5/10

 

 

 

Aidan Guerra
Aidan Guerra DAVE HUNT

BENCH

Outgunned by their opposites, and can expect changes for Sydney.

Michael Morgan - energetic in attack but hardly electric - deserves another crack, though a game-high eight missed tackles is cause for concern.

Sam Thaiday and Jacob Lillyman provided heavy contact once or twice, but paled in comparison to the 192 metres amassed by Blues big man David Klemmer.

With Jarrod Wallace waiting in the wings, Lillyman is the man most under threat.

Right there with him sits Aidan Guerra, whose 18 months of indifferent club form continued with a dropped ball over the line, admittedly when NSW had it in the bag.

Mark: 4/10

COACH

 

 

Kevin Walters was under no illusions. Taking the reins from Mal Meninga was never going to be a picnic.

Delicately wrapping up the greatest team in Origin history - that transition just got seriously prickly.

Walters and his fellow selectors wear the debatable selections in this 17, all of which backfired at Suncorp - the O'Neill and Myles calls spectacularly so.

As predicted, tactically the Maroons found pay dirt in targeting Hayne, but couldn't unleash Milford or Boyd as planned.

That came down to the cattle up front rather than any failed plan around their use. In turn it comes back to selections.

And that comes round for Walters once more in a fortnight's time.

Mark: 4/10

News Corp Australia


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