‘That will haunt him’: Blues flop revealed

 

Queensland has come from nowhere to take a 1-0 lead in this year's State of Origin series.

Kalyn Ponga, Daly Cherry-Evans and Dane Gagai in particular were all outstanding in the Maroons' mighty fightback.

The Blues' left edge looked completely lost as Will Chambers and Gagai cut holes in the rocky defensive pairing of Latrell Mitchell and Josh Addo-Carr.

In the end, they were all saved from being the worst player of the contest. That dreaded tag belongs to Raiders utility Jack Wighton, who threw an intercept late in the match to allow Queensland to take the lead.

NSW coach Brad Fittler admitted after the game Wighton will have nightmares about the pass.

"Jack Wighton was fantastic," Fittler told Channel 9. "It's a shame he threw that intercept. That will haunt him."

Here's how the players performed.

RELATED: Outrage over Nine's Origin slip-up

RELATED: Gus shreds Latrell's Game 1 nightmare

QUEENSLAND

 

Kalyn Ponga turned everything to gold.
Kalyn Ponga turned everything to gold.

KALYN PONGA: Seemed to be everywhere and created chances all night. Set up the Maroons' first try for Corey Oates and their last for Gagai. Put his body on the line to stop Mitchell stealing it for the Blues at the death. The wonder kid delivered again.

Rating: 9.5/10

COREY OATES: Looked to have scored in the first half but put a foot in touch. Redeemed himself with an almost identical acrobatic effort in the second half.

Rating: 8

WILL CHAMBERS: Bombed two tries in the first half but kept Latrell Mitchell quiet for most of the game. Finished with a pair of errors and 118 metres.

Rating: 6

MICHAEL MORGAN: Solid on the left edge and set up Oates' disallowed try. Was held up over the line in the second half. Did his job.

Rating: 7.5

DANE GAGAI: Always dangerous in space and gave Queensland every chance to score in the first half before busting the game open in the second with a 95-metre intercept try. Then scored the sealer with a pinpoint finish. He now has 11 Origin tries in 11 games.

Rating: 9.5

CAMERON MUNSTER: Missed five tackles and made some costly errors in defence but looked threatening with the ball in hand. Made 20 tackles and finished with 137 metres.

Rating: 6.5

DALY CHERRY-EVANS: Pinpoint grubber at the upright which should have resulted in a Dylan Napa try but the grounding went awry. Bombed a go-ahead try in the second half when his pass was intercepted but the captain showed strong leadership.

Rating: 7

JAI ARROW: Worked hard all night making 31 tackles and running for 102 metres while busting three tackles, but gave away a penalty.

Rating: 6.5

BEN HUNT: Made the most tackles (49) in the game and also kicked a 40-20 in the first half but some poor passing let his side down at times. Did his job.

Rating: 7.5

 

Stars.
Stars.

JOSH PAPALII: The Raiders wrecking ball toiled hard without breaking open the Blues pack but always dragged in multiple defenders. Made 23 tackles and ran for 128 metres.

Rating: 7

FELISE KAUFUSI: Made a try-saving tackle in the first half and worked hard in attack and defence all night. Made 32 tackles and carried for 106 metres.

Rating: 7

MATT GILLETT: Tackled all night and almost earned his side a penalty try in the second half.

Rating: 6.5

JOSH MCGUIRE: Gave away a fifth tackle penalty just after half time but made amends by winning back possession in the next set. Stood tall with 46 tackles.

Rating: 8

MOSES MBYE: Didn't feature in the first half and was hardly spotted in the second. Limited opportunities.

Rating: 5

JOE OFAHENGAUE: Most run metres (97) for a bench player and toed through for Napa's disallowed try in the first half. Knee injury saw him leave game in second half.

Rating 7.5

DYLAN NAPA: Should have scored the first try but failed to get his hands on the ball and his forearm grounding was rubbed out. Quiet night otherwise.

Rating: 5.5

DAVID FIFITA: Made 12 runs for 83 metres and made seven tackles.

Rating: 5

 

Blue brothers.
Blue brothers.

NSW

JAMES TEDESCO: The best player on the field in the first half after setting up the opening try and showing some stunning last-line defence. Ran for 250 metres but made four errors, including a knock-on with 10 minutes to go which led to Gagai's match-sealing try.

Rating: 8/10

JOSH ADDO-CARR: Saved two tries in the first half with some desperate defence but wasn't as potent in attack despite finishing with four tackle busts and 131 metres.

Rating: 6.5

LATRELL MITCHELL: Failed to get into the game and got rocked by Will Chambers in the first half. Sin-binned in the second half for a professional foul. Almost stole the game at the death but otherwise a night to forget.

Rating: 4

JOSH MORRIS: The veteran centre enjoyed a dream start, scoring the opener with brute strength. Ran with purpose all night and it showed with eight tackle busts.

Rating: 8

NICK COTRIC: Plenty of energy from the debutant but didn't leave his mark on the game. Helped hold up Michael Morgan over the line. Also played on after what looked like a serious knee injury.

Rating: 6

CODY WALKER: Quiet in the first half. Dragged off in the second half but came back on to set up Jake Trbojevic's try for a grandstand finish.

Rating: 5

NATHAN CLEARY: Kicked well all night and kept the Blues in shape but couldn't provide the X-factor they needed when the game was on the line. Still made 30 tackles.

Rating: 6.5

DAVID KLEMMER: Ran for 126 metres in the first half but only added another 18m in the second as he was taken off. Made 29 tackles but the Blues will need more from the big man in game two.

Rating: 6.5

DAMIEN COOK: An absolute weapon out of dummy half that caused Queensland plenty of trouble all night. The Blues' best player with 41 tackles, two line breaks and four offloads in his 106 metres.

Rating: 9

PAUL VAUGHAN: Threw his weight around with 24 tackles but was only good for 89 metres with the ball in hand.

Rating: 6

BOYD CORDNER: Drew the first penalty then pointed to the posts. The NSW skipper made the second equal-most tackles (32) for his team but needed to be stronger in attack.

Rating: 6

TYSON FRIZELL: Missed three tackles and only returned 75 metres from 10 runs.

Rating: 5

JAKE TRBOJEVIC: Chipped in with 107 run metres and scored with five minutes to play to give the Blues a chance at the death.

Rating: 6.5

 

Jack Wighton had a stinker.
Jack Wighton had a stinker.

 

JACK WIGHTON: Limited minutes off the bench and threw the intercept for Gagai's match-winning try. Not an ideal debut from the utility. His intercept pass also came on just the third tackle of the set for the Blues - who clearly didn't need to force the issue when Wighton lost the plot.

Rating: 4

PAYNE HAAS: Chased down Maroons winger Dane Gagai in the first half but gave away a silly penalty in the second stanza. Still made 25 tackles.

Rating: 6.5

CAMERON MURRAY: Strong effort off the bench with four tackle busts and 93 metres to complement his 23 tackles.

Rating: 7

ANGUS CRICHTON: Somehow made the second equal-most tackles (32) off the bench but made an error.

Rating: 6.5