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Origin I player ratings: NSW Blues

Player ratings for the NSW Blues team in their State of Origin I clash with the Queensland Maroons at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville.

1. James Tedesco: From the time he took two runs in the first set of the game he was busy. Threatened to break out all night and while he never quite did his constant probing runs and perfect positional play were still a huge factor in the result. Overshadowed by his mates in the backline but brought a ton of quality with over 200 metres and seven busts. 8/10

2. Brian To'o: An inspired selection. Regularly came in off his wing for yardage runs, sometimes carrying multiple defenders downfield on his back with a match-high 220 metres. Two well-earned first half tries in an explosive debut. 9

3. Latrell Mitchell: Monstrous on the left edge, threatening to break the line with every powerful carry. Constantly menaced clubmate Dane Gagai's edge. Lovely ball for To'o's first try and scored two of his own with a match-high 10 busts. 9.5

4. Tom Trbojevic: Best on ground in a very, very strong field. Named at right centre but played as an extra fullback. Roamed both sides of the park and he didn't just boss the Maroons, he demoralised them. Scored a hat-trick and set up Mitchell with an outrageous grubber. Only his missed tackle for Capewell's try denied him a perfect 10. 9.5

Mitchell wears a hit to put To'o over

5. Josh Addo-Carr: Might be having words to his coach after being pinned on the non-action side of the field while the Blues' left side made hay. Still clocked around 100 metres and did his best to get involved. 6

6. Jarome Luai: First-game nerves? No sir. Luai brought his Panthers form straight into his first Origin game. Electric from the first set with his scintillating passing game as impressive as his livewire running while his underrated defence more than did a job on Felise Kaufusi. 9.5

7. Nathan Cleary: Took a back seat at times to his in-form halves partner but controlled proceedings masterfully. Bravely battled on with a nasty gash on his cheek, nailing sideline conversions with blood pouring from his face. Silky passing game a big factor in Blues' early dominance and in particular To'o's second try before lighting up in the second half with a couple of line breaks. 8.5

8. Daniel Saifiti: The Novocastrian's trademark line-bending runs kept the Blues on the front foot and he crashed over for a well-earned second-half try. His 142 metres were the most of any forward in the game. 8

9. Damien Cook: Back to his running best, his line break helped set up To'o's first try back when the game was still in the balance and topped the team tackle count with 34. 8

Luai breaks through to unleash Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic

10. Jake Trbojevic: Top-drawer stint in the first 22 minutes to help the Blues lay the platform then rested until the final eight of the contest. The importance of his physicality in the opening stanza shouldn't be underestimated despite his low minutes. 7

11. Cameron Murray: Missed a couple of early tackles in his non-preferred edge role and his running game never really wound up. Involved in some huge collisions and spent time off with a HIA but did an important job for his side. 6.5

12. Tariq Sims: Sims' first run-on start in his third Origin was easily his best performance at this level. Brought the promised level of physicality and gave the Maroons' right edge some headaches. Enjoyed his combination with Luai and Mitchell and produced a pass we didn’t know he had for To'o to score. 8

A superb pass in traffic from Sims hands To'o his second

13. Isaah Yeo: Like Sims it was his third Origin but first start. Like Luai he brought his club form to the Origin arena. As always understated, Yeo was involved in a mountain of the crucial nitty-gritty in the middle that allowed his backs to light up. Played the full 80 in the middle. A tough, impressive Origin performance. 9


14. Jack Wighton: Got four minutes at the end of the first half when Cleary was finally sent for attention on his facial cut then given another spell after the contest was decided, Wighton never got a chance to put his stamp on the game but the cover and balance he provides the squad should see him safe for game two. 4

15. Junior Paulo: The Eels big man got 34 minutes off the bench for 89 metres worth of strong carries and 20 tackles. 6

16. Payne Haas: Easily the most-used of the Blues benchies, Haas was on early and made more metres than any forward bar Saifiti, as well as more tackles than any Blue except Cook. Coughed up the ball with a bad offload but otherwise did an excellent job maintaining Blues' dominance through the middle part of the contest. 7.5

17. Liam Martin: Got on early in the second half when Murray was taken for his HIA and immediately set about making his presence felt with plenty of aggression including rattling Cam Munster. Only two runs and 12 tackles in his half-hour on field but looked the part at this level. 6


The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.


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