State Of Origin

Queensland Maroons come out on top against NSW Blues in State of Origin face-saver

Absent for the first two matches due to injury, the Newcastle superstar showed the Maroons just what they'd been missing with a leading hand in Wednesday's 20-18 win over NSW on the Gold Coast in Australia.

Ponga led the Maroons with 182 running metres, recorded three tackle busts and one line break.

More importantly, he was at the heart of Queensland's best attacking moments at CBUS Super Stadium.

A kick return early in the first half set the platform from which the Maroons would score their first try of the night through debutant Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Cherry-Evans keen to attack Blues and build pressure

Captain Daly Cherry-Evans admitted the Maroons still had plenty of work to do on their defence after NSW's scoring juggernaut won the first two games with a remarkable 76-6 aggregate.

But Cherry-Evans believed their attack may prove the key to an Origin III upset.

The Maroons playmaker said a fast start was crucial and, armed with a backline boasting debutant speedster Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, was keen to finally put some scoreboard pressure on the Blues in Wednesday's dead rubber.

NSW Blues creates historic upset in State of Origin

After their successful encounter in game one, the Blues showed electrifying performance last night, running in three first-half tries to have an 18-0 advantage at half time.

NSW had not won consecutive games in Queensland since 1996-1998, when the Blues won four straight in enemy territory.

Game 3 is scheduled for July 14 at Stadium Australia, however, the NRL is considering moving the game as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

     

Walsh, Mulitalo out and Coates in; Blues good to go

With centre duo Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell running amok, and Origin debutants Jarome Luai and Brian To'o putting their stamp on the interstate contest in memorable fashion, the Blues were unstoppable in racking up a 50-6 win in game one.

The Blues were virtually unaffected by Queensland closing its borders to residents from Sydney's COVID-19 hotspots and continued Origin camp in Kingscliff on the northern NSW.

The NSW squad headed north on Monday and was COVID tested before entering camp.

Eligibility drama leaves Mulitalo 'heartbroken'

Mulitalo – himself a late Queensland call-up 24 hours before game two – was withdrawn from the Maroons side at 11am on Sunday with doubts remaining over whether he is eligible to represent the state.

Coates has been called in as replacement in jersey No.20 having been dropped after Origin I's 50-6 thrashing from NSW.

"Heartbroken and lost for words," Mulitalo posted on his Instagram after his withdrawal was made official.

NSW Blues claim record win in series opener against Queensland Maroons

Trbojevic scored his second Origin hat-trick and set up another as he popped up all over the field, helping NSW blow the Maroons off the park in the series opener.

Fellow centre Latrell Mitchell was also superb with his own double in his Origin return, while debutant winger Brian To'o also bagged two tries.

The Blues backs were too strong and too fast for Queensland, who weren't able to take advantage of a one-sided home crowd of 27,533 in Townsville's maiden Origin.

Maroons Origin team: Stars in doubt; Grant set to start ahead of Mahoney

Green on Monday selected Cameron Munster, Kalyn Ponga and Harry Grant in his 20-man squad despite the trio having not played any NRL games since round nine.

Grant has been named to start at hooker while Mahoney and fellow potential debutant Kyle Feldt have been listed on the extended bench in the team submitted to the NRL by midday on Monday under official guidelines.

Munster has battled a Lisfranc foot injury, Grant needs to overcome a hamstring strain and Ponga has struggled with a groin complaint and all three remain in doubt for the series opener next week.

NSW Origin team: Luai gets nod for Freddie's fresh-faced Blues

Mt Druitt-bred livewires Jarome Luai and Brian To'o, as well as workhorse back-rower Liam Martin, have been named for their Blues debuts alongside Penrith co-captains Nathan Cleary and Isaah Yeo.

Luai's rise to the NSW five-eighth jersey means Jack Wighton will be the bench utility as Cleary and Luai reprise a halves partnership they first struck up as 15-year-olds in Penrith's junior system.

Fittler is leaning on his junior club's strong representation to help atone for their upset defeat at the hands of Queensland in what was dubbed the "unloseable" 2020 series.

Slater receives four-star endorsement for Maroons job

The elite quartet - Wayne Bennett, Mal Meninga, Craig Bellamy and Cameron Smith - have all offered their unqualified support for the retired Melbourne Storm fullback to take charge of the Maroons this year.

Bennett, who steered an underdog Queensland team to win last year’s title, was expected to retain the position. However, the QRL prefers a full-time coach, leading Bennett to announce last week he would concentrate on coaching the Rabbitohs in his final season at Redfern.

Maroons’ Game I hero forced into change; Foxx firms for Blues

Kurt Capewell will to start in the back row, with Edrick Lee and Valentine Holmes on the wings, Corey Allan at fullback and Dane Gagai and Brenko Lee in the centres.

“Cameron (Munster) passed everything and we’re very satisifed with where he’s at,” Bennett said.

“We won’t know until this morning to see if he (Xavier Coates) can train. He’s 50/50 at the moment.

“Edrick Lee will come in.”

“We’ll get (Brenko Lee) through training today, we’re confident we’ll do that. He was good on Sunday, so pretty confident he’ll play.”