STATE OF ORIGIN 1 PLAYER RATINGS

Marks out of 10 for all 34 players in State of Origin game one, won 18-14 by Queensland.

 

QLD MAROONS

1. Kalyn Ponga: Played like an Origin veteran rather than someone making their first start at this level. Constantly involved, laid on two tries with brilliant cut-out passes (one on each side of the park), made a line-break, banged over a couple of sideline conversion, ran for 154 metres, had an equal-team-high seven tackle-breaks and came up with a potential game-saving tackle on Mitchell. Stiff to miss man-of-the-match honours and destined to be a Queensland great. 9

2. Corey Oates: Missed a tryscoring chance in the first half but took his opportunity superbly after the break to open the Maroons’ account. Ran strongly for 137 metres and outpointed opposite Cotric. 7

3. Michael Morgan: Class player, looking totally at home in the unfamiliar centre role. His silky skills and anticipation troubled the Blues regularly. 7.5

4. Will Chambers: Major retribution for the veteran, comprehensively outplaying archrival Mitchell. Line-break almost produced a try and went very close to scoring later in the first half, while his 20-tackle effort in defence included some excellent stops. 7.5

5. Dane Gagai: Has there ever been a more influential Origin winger? A man-of-the-match award for the former Wally Lewis Medal winner, while his quick-fire double – from a 95-metre intercept (which helped him to a game-high 270 running metres) and a brilliant finish down a tight corridor – took his tally to 11 tries in 11 games, complementing a top-shelf all-round game. 8.5

6. Cameron Munster: Continues to make a monumental impact just five games into his Origin career. Had a bit of a headless chook look about him at times in the first half, but frequently created opportunities and made a mesmerising line-break that almost produced a try. Ran for a staggering 146 metres and made 22 tackles. 8.5

7. Daly Cherry-Evans (c): Not exactly dominant, but an expert hand in his first game as Queensland skipper. Kicking game was sound – including coming within a whisker of laying on tries for Napa and Gillett – and busy in attack, while also racking up 23 tackles. Calm and controlled. 8

8. Jai Arrow: Reeled off 31 tackles and 13 runs for 104 metres in a trademark wholehearted display. Still only 23, Arrow could be a 20-Origin player. 7.5

9. Ben Hunt: An advertisement for those who reckon hooker is Hunt’s best position. Little argument he’s better suited to the No.9 in the Origin pressure-cooker. Toiled relentless for 53 tackles, had some bright moments with the ball in hand and kicked a 40/20. A few loose passes from dummy-half and could have ran more. 7.5

10. Josh Papalii: A real pack-leader performance in his 13th Origin, heading the Queensland pack for run metres (131, including a team-high 39 post-contact) and tackle efficiency (27 at 96.4%). Had a big presence and played a vital role. 8

11. Felise Kaufusi: A left-edge beast on both sides of the ball. Solid returns of 121 metres and 33 tackles only tell part of the story of the Melbourne star’s influence. Great cover defence. In the conversation for the best second-rower in the game mantle. 8

12. Matt Gillett: A sound return after missing the 2018 series with injury. Racked up 37 tackles but was relatively quiet on attack. 7

13. Josh McGuire: Dished out some trademark niggle, which seemed to unsettle the Blues early in the second half. Ran for over 100 metres and punched out a massive 44 tackles. Impressive. 7.5

14. Moses Mbye: Made a late eight-minute cameo count with 11 tackles – including a couple of important stops – and one strong run as a roving forward. 6

15. Joe Ofahengaue: Super-busy in 33 minutes of game-time, running for over 100 metres and making 18 tackles. Didn’t stand out but did his job well. 6.5

16. Dylan Napa: No player was luckier to get a Queensland jersey than Napa and he somewhat repaid Kevvie’s and the selectors’ faith with some tough carries. But just 10 tackles and a whopping seven misses is a concern. 6

17. David Fifita: Looked on the verge of busting the game open during his 30 minutes on the park, making 11 runs for 74 metres and 12 tackles (no misses), as well as popping a team-high three offloads. 7

 

NSW BLUES

1. James Tedesco: Not far off being the best player on the field. A perpetual threat to the Queensland defence, made 267 metres (including a game-high 39 post-contact) and set up the only try of the first half. A fumble on a kick-return was crucial, however, leading to Gagai’s second try. 8.5

2. Nick Cotric: Few opportunities to impress in attack but ran for 114 metres. Scored on by Oates in the second half. Played through the last 15 minutes after picking up an injury. 6

3. Latrell Mitchell: Given a bath by Chambers in the first half – a complete 180 from last year’s series (and the grand final) – and barely made an impact until breaking clear with two minutes to go and almost snatching the game. Sin-binning proved costly. Played like someone with an injury or wasn’t interested in having a crack. 4.5

4. Josh Morris: Scored the opening try in a dream start to his Origin renaissance and finished with a game-high nine tackle-breaks, while also chalking up 18 tackles. Quiet second half. 6.5

5. Josh Addo-Carr: Looked ultra-dangerous early on and his blistering pace produced a try-saver on Chambers a couple of minutes out from the break. Finished with 142 metres but couldn’t find a way to work himself into the game in the second stanza and saw his opposite score two tries. 6.5

6. Cody Walker: A disappointingly quiet debut overall from the instinctive playmaker, who appeared tentative when the Blues needed his spark. Had a 13-minute spell on the bench but returned to trigger Trbojevic’s late try. 5

7. Nathan Cleary: Hard to criticise the under-pressure halfback too much, given he played largely a lone hand in the halves. Kicked astutely for the most part, did his best to create chances for the Blues’ ball-runners and racked up an enormous 33 tackles. Some of the reaction to his performance is way off-base. 7

8. David Klemmer: Led all forwards with 149 metres and also reeled off 31 tackles with just one miss. Great opening stint to play 51 straight minutes but was bewildering left occupying the pine for the rest of the match as the Maroon waves started crashing down on the Blues. 7

9. Damien Cook: Another first-class performer in a beaten side. His crazy good 132 metres included a line-break, while he was constantly darting and probing with intent. Also tallied 45 tackles. 8

10. Paul Vaughan: Solid enough with 12 carries for 101 metres and 28 tackles, but not a standout. 6

11. Boyd Cordner: If he wasn’t the captain and so highly regarded, Cordner might be struggling to hold onto his spot. Missed six tackles and struggled to put his stamp on the game. 5.5

12. Tyson Frizell: Decent work-rate in 40 minutes with 12 runs and 22 tackles, but not at the level we’re used to seeing from the blockbusting Dragon. 6

13. Jake Trbojevic: The Blues’ offensive workhorse with 17 carries for 130 metres and barged over for a late try. His ball-playing and offload were shelved in this game, however. 7

14. Jack Wighton: Played 25 minutes in the second half but it won’t be remembered among the better Origin debuts. Knocked down a Cherry-Evans pass to save a dry, then had a kicked charged down that worked out fortuitously. But when a try for Addo-Carr beckoned, he could watch on forlornly as Gagai snaffled his pass and ran 95 metres for the go-ahead try. 4.5

15. Payne Haas: Carted the ball up nine times but the 19-year-old behemoth was arguably more impressive in defence. Made a crucial cover tackle on Gagai soon after entering the fray and finished with 31 tackles with no misses. 6.5

16. Cameron Murray: Looked the goods on debut in 51 minutes off the bench. Ran for 114 metres, made 25 tackles and threw the last pass for Trbojevic’s try. Certainly did not appear out of his depth. 7

17. Angus Crichton: One player who should be awaiting the game two team announcement nervously. Made just 55 running metres and missed five tackles in 52 minutes on the paddock. Nothing glaringly bad but nondescript – much like his form since joining the Roosters. 5

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