State of Origin 2019 is locked up at one game apiece after New South Wales took out Game II 38-6 at Optus Stadium in Perth.
It was a stunning vindication of Blues coach Brad Fittler’s decision to make seven changes to his side that lost the first game 18-14 in Brisbane. The most notable, half James Maloney, was in stunning form. The former Warrior steered the Blues around the field with authority, and took an even greater presence in the game after Nathan Cleary was injured at the end of the first half.
Earlier, Tom Trbojevic opened the scoring after climbing high to take a bomb over the top of Queensland fullback Kalyn Ponga. The Maroons levelled the scores thanks to a rare penalty try - with the bunker ruling that Will Chambers would have scored off a Ben Hunt kick through had he not been impeded. The conversion locked the scores at 6 all, but that would be the last time the Queenslanders would trouble the scoreboard.
Tyson Frizell ran a beautiful line to score off a Maloney short ball in the 18th minute, then Trbojevic ran in for his second five minutes before the hooter to give the Blues an 18-6 lead at halftime.
By now, the heavens had opened and heavy rain was coming down on the ground and the uncovered members of the 59,721 crowd. However, Fittler’s message at halftime was to keep the pressure on, and Trbojevic was sent in for his hat trick in the 53rd minute. It was a stunning team try in the rain, featuring slick hands from Josh Addo-Carr and James Tedesco.
That essentially settled the result, given that Queensland had struggled all game to get anywhere near the Blues’ line. Addo-Carr found time to score two tries of his own before the end, to blow the score out to the second highest win margin by a New South Wales side in Origin history.
Game III is in Sydney on July 10.
NSW 38 (T Trbojevic 3, J Addo-Carr 2, T Frizell tries; J Maloney 3, N Cleary 2 goals)
QLD 6 (penalty try, K Ponga goal)
HT: 18-6 NSW