Queensland emerged victorious in the 2023 State of Origin series after a commanding win over New South Wales at a vibrant Suncorp Stadium.
The Maroons built a comfortable 10-0 lead by halftime, despite conceding a significant amount of possession.
Tries from Val Holmes and Murray Taulagi set the stage for Queensland’s success in the first half. Holmes added another try after the break, while Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow further solidified the Maroons’ dominance with a fourth try. Damien Cook managed to score a try for the Blues, but Xavier Coates and Jeremiah Nanai ensured a lopsided final scoreline in favor of Queensland.
Billy Slater, a legendary former Australian international, translated his success as a player for the Maroons into coaching, leading Queensland to back-to-back series victories for the first time since 2017. Under Slater’s guidance, a group of young and determined players transformed into a formidable team.
Slater’s astute selection of Broncos full-back Walsh for the custodian role, alongside Samoa’s Dolphins full-back Tabuai-Fidow in the center position, proved to be a brilliant move. Both players made significant contributions in both defense and attack.
Experienced halves Daly Cherry-Evans and Cameron Munster provided the necessary control and creativity to outsmart the Blues, despite relinquishing possession frequently.
Queensland capitalized on their opportunities, targeting the Blues’ left-edge defense throughout the game. Sharp passing led to Holmes’ second try and Taulagi’s score.
New South Wales, under the leadership of coach Brad Fittler, may face uncertainty after this loss, despite winning three of the last six series. Although possession was not an issue for the Blues, their inability to create scoring opportunities near the Queensland goal-line proved costly.
Mitchell Moses, filling in at half-back in the absence of Nathan Cleary, showcased some impressive skills. However, the early departure of Tom Trbojevic due to a pectoral injury had a significant impact on the team’s performance.
The Blues’ focus now shifts to avoiding a clean sweep on their home turf when Game Three takes place in Sydney on Wednesday, July 12.
Lineups: Queensland: Walsh; Coates, Holmes, Tabuai-Fidow, Taulagi; Munster, Cherry-Evans; Flegler, Hunt, Fa’asuamaleaui, Fifita, Cotter, Carrigan Interchanges: Grant, Flegler, Nanai, Fotuaika
New South Wales: Tedesco; To’o, Crichton, Trbojevic, Addo-Carr; Luai, Moses; Paulo, Robson, Haas, Frizell, Young, Yeo