After being taught a rugby league lesson in the opening State of Origin game by New South Wales, the Maroons of Queensland had a mountain to climb to level the series; a tall and snow covered mountain and one which they would have to scale without oxygen, liquids, and dressed only in their under crackers.
Brad Fittler made just one change to his dominant Blues side with Angus Crichton replacing Jake Trbojevic while Maroons coach Paul Green went for more wholesale changes with Andrew McCullough, Coen Hessm Francis Molo and Josh Papalii all making the side in place of Alexander Brimson, Harry Grant, Jaydn Su’A and Joe Ofahengaue.
Once again, the Blues were very short odds for the win which would seal the series victory at the Suncorp Stadium in Sydney.
It was only a matter of time before the early New South Wales pressure saw the Queensland line breached. That time was twelve minutes with Josh Addo-Carr taking a miss-out pass from James Tedesco on a massive overlap for a walk-in try. Nathan Cleary made no mistake with his conversion from close to the touchline for a 6-0 lead.
Brian To’o went close on eighteen but great Maroons defence managed to put him into touch as he reached to score.
James Tedesco uncharacteristically knocked-on when fielding a kick but the Blues recovered their composure and scored a length of the field try when Latrell Mitchell intercepted the ball fifteen from his own line and showed a clean pair of heels to the chasing Queenslanders to score under the sticks. Cleary added the extras for a 12-0 lead.
Tom Trbojevic scored the third NSW try but had Addo-Carr to thank for a break down the right wing. In a rolling move the try scorer played a neat one-two with his winger before taking the pass back on the inside to go forty metres to score. Cleary added the conversion as the Maroons heads dipped, realising that the game was already beyond them.
A Cleary penalty after an obstruction extended the lead to 20-0 on fifty minutes as Queensland struggled to find a way into the game.
It looked like Queensland were in on fifty-three but a last-ditch tackle from Trbojevic prevented Xavier Coates from grounding the ball. The video referee ruled out another potential Queensland try on sixty-two for arm in touch, the luck wasn’t with the Maroon.
Andrew McCullough was held up over the line on sixty-five and a kick to the corner on the next play went dead.
Brilliant hand from the Blue resulted in Damian Cook being held up over the line. After forcing a drop-out, an awful kick failed to go the ten metres and after tapping the penalty Addo-Carr went in for his second of the night after stepping inside and wrong-footing two tacklers to ground. Cleary swung his conversion between the uprights for 26-0, the first time either side has failed to score for twelve years.
A brilliant tackle from To’o stripped the ball from Feldt as he was in the act of scoring, Queensland just couldn’t get any points on the board. New South Wales winning the series with another comprehensive display.
Not unexpectedly, New South Wales complete the series win and set up a potential whitewash in the third game which is to be played in ten days’ time. Queensland showed a bit more fight than in the first game, but the Blues look to be invincible as they won this game at a canter and still looked to have plenty in the tank.
Queensland: Holmes, Coates, Feldt, Gagai, Capewell, Gagai, Coates, Munster, Cherry-Evans, Welch, McCullough, Papalii, Arrow, Kaufusi, Fa’asuamaleaui. Subs: Bent, Fifita D, Fotuaika, Molo. 18th Man: Hess.
New South Wales: Tedesco, To’o, Mitchell (T), Trbojevic T (T), Addo-Carr (2T), Luai, Cleary (5G), Saifiti, Cook, Paulo, Murray, Sims, Yeo. Subs: Wighton, Crichton, Haas, Martin. 18th Man: Koroisau.
Referee: Gerard Sutton.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-12, 0-16, 0-18 : HT : 0-20, 0-24, 0-26 : FT.