Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
After New South Wales gave Queensland a hiding last night at Stadium Australia, the time has come to perform the mandatory post mortem which will be accompied by player ratings for last nights match and recommendations for game two at ANZ Stadium on June 5.
New South Wales
Brett Hodgson - rating 9.5. Played an outstanding game on debut and was easily man of the match. Will have Lockyer looking over his shoulder.
Timana Tahu - rating 8. Had a solid debut and made no mistakes and was always looking to threaten in attack. Scored a great try to put the reult beyond doubt.
Jamie Lyon - rating 8.5. The best centre in the game who is always looking for the ball and scored NSW best try after playing a role in the leadup work.
Matthew Gidley - rating 7. Late inclusion and scored the first try. Made no mistakes but was not outstanding. His spot will be under threat for game two with Timmins likely to be fit.
Jason Moodie - rating 7.5. Had a solid game and backed up well all night. Not spectacular but will be back for game two.
Trent Barrett - rating 7.5. Played second fiddle to Johns but threw the pass of the night for the Tahu try. Is slowly starting to regain some much needed form.
Andrew Johns - rating 9. Lived up to his own bold predictions and showed he is in the elite class of Origin player with Daley, Meninga and Lewis. Qld had no answer for his dynamic game. Best player in the game
Luke Ricketson - rating 8.5. Defended like a Trojan and made no mistakes. Had plenty of game time an showed he is an origin class player.
Steve Simpson - rating 8. Had an excellent debut with some strong defence and bustling runs. He is not far away from an Australian jumper.
Ben Kennedy - rating 9. Showed he is one of the best big game players and totally dominated his opposite number, Gorden Tallis, with some punishing defence and bruising runs. He is fast challenging Tallis as the premier forward in the game.
Mark O'Meley - rating 8. Didnt get as much game time as he would have liked, but a nasty cut reduced his prescence but played strongly when on the field.
Danny Buderus - rating 9. The quiet achiever of the Blues side. Had an outstanding game from dummy half with some effective runs and tireless defence.
Luke Bailey - rating 9.5 Simply awesome on debut. There were questions about his ability to step up to the next level but was by far the best forward on the field with over 20 hitups. Gave Langer hell all night.
Braith Anasta - rating 7. Not much to say as he came into the game so late. Made no mistakes and will be better for the experience. A star in the making.
Bryan Fletcher - rating 7. Was having a great game until he came off with an injured ankle. Will be in doubt for Origin II.
Nathan Hindmarsh - rating 7.5. Defended well but none of his barnstorming length of the field efforts. Still very strong.
Michael Vella - rating 7. Was solid after only playing a handful of games this year. Defended well.
Darren Lockyer - rating 9. Was Queensland's best in a a well beaten side and if not for his last gasp defence, Queensland wuld have lost by fifty.
Lote Tuqiri - rating 8. Was solid but not his usual brilliant self. Scored the Maroons only try and will relish the chance to play in front of his home crowd in game two.
Chris McKenna - rating 7. Tried hard and tackled well but was ineffective overall. Was carrying an injury for most of the match.
Darren Smith - rating 7. Made some great cover defence but is too slow to mark the likes of Lyon and co. Will find himself in the forwards for game two.
Clinton Schifcofske - rating 8. Made 21 hitups and tried his heart on debut. Needs to straighten his running to be more effective. Will be better for the run.
Shaun Berrigan - rating 7.5. Unusually quiet due to playing behind a well beaten pack. If he gets the room, can be very dangerous.
Allan Langer - rating 7. Not the best game for Alf who was hooked after sixty minutes. Was only playing half fit and it showed. Game two could be his Waterloo if he is still not one hundred percent.
Dane Carlaw - rating 7.5. Ran strongly but was fairly quiet for most of the game. Will need to lift to keep his spot for Origin II.
Gorden Tallis - rating 7. Looked very lethargic and his monster defence and rampagin runs were nowhere to be seen. Also spent ten in the bin to enhance his reputation as a hothead.
Petero Civoniceva - rating 7.5. Tried to get involved, but like all the other Maroons forwards, looked out on his feet after thirty minutes.
Shane Webcke - rating 8. Best of a beatn pack and still charged headfirst into the Blues defence every chance he got. Looked exhausted by the end of the match.
Kevin Campion - rating 7. Was too slow for dummy half and will either be at lock or on the bench for the next game. Needs to be a tackler for the entire game.
John Buttegieg - rating 6. Was too slow and lazy to make an impact in the game. Will not be there for game two. Was hardly sighted all night.
Chris Walker - rating 6. Was only thrown into the match after Queensland had lost all hope. Still looked dangerous when he had the ball. Needs to start game two.
John Doyle - rating 6. Played poorly and was hardly noticed. Will be gone for game two to accomodate P J Marsh. Has no form to warrant selection.
Carl Webb - rating 6.5. His menacing runs from last years series were not evident and may struggle to keep his spot. Looked disinterested and unfit.
Andrew Gee - rating 6.5. Too old and slow. His selection was a gamnble that backfired badly. Will not be there for game two.
Queensland need to make at least three change if they are a hope of challengin the faster, more mobile blues forwards if they are to stay alive in the series. The first step is to bring in P J Marsh as dummy half to give a big pack of forewars the spark and go forward they need to be effective. Travis Norton also needs to be selected to give the forwards a lot more creativity and second phase play rather than five forwards who run straight all night. Queensland are still capable of winning the series but need to find the answers now.
New South Wales don't need to make any changes. Only a fit Timmins may replace Gidley but even then Phil Gould will be reluctant to tinker with a winning side. The tables have turned dramataically over the last ten years with New South Wales always having the much larger forward pack and Queensland having the smaller, mobile pack. New South Wales also found state pride last night and that should be enough to see them rgain the title as best Rugby League state in Australia.