Thank you for your company tonight, and throughout this series. After those one-sided exhibitions it was nice to have some back-and-forth to round it all off.
Following all the doom-and-gloom around the Maroons, they showed that when they’re on their game they’re not light years behind the Blues. But this series also showed that if they’re shorn of any of their star core they will struggle to replace them. Ponga transformed Queensland tonight, and whoever’s in charge next season must be crossing all their fingers and toes that he, Munster and Grant are available for all three encounters.
NSW also showed tonight they are mortal, especially without their Panthers in the halves. All the moving parts functioned for the Blues tonight, nothing was fundamentally amiss (apart form perhaps some discipline issues in defence) but that game management, that sixth-sense to pick the right pass at the right time, the cohesion that comes with playing alongside each other for years, just wasn’t there. Moses had his moments, and Wighton nabbed a try, but they never allowed their outside backs any opportunity to express themselves.
One of those that did free the shackles was Latrell Mitchell, my pick for player of the series (although Tom Trbojevic was a deserving Wally Lewis Medalist) and his ability to spin gold out of thin air was once again a thing to behold. But it was defeat on the night to round off a series victory.
Wally Lewis Player of the Series – Tom Trbojevic
Full-time: NSW 18-20 Queensland
TRY! NSW 18-20 Queensland (Koroisau, 68)
TRY! NSW 12-20 Queensland (Hunt, 65)
TRY! NSW 12-14 Queensland (Hunt, 58)
TRY! NSW 12-8 Queensland (Wighton, 48)
Half-time: NSW 6-8 Queensland