Sport Rugby League NRL Straight Six: The key takeaways from State of Origin II

NRL Straight Six: The key takeaways from State of Origin II

Fone form: Tom Trbojevic scores a try for the Blues. Photo: Getty
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Freddy knows best

NSW coach Brad Fittler made a controversial seven changes after his team’s loss in Game I. Many thought ‘Freddy’ had gone mad. Freddy is not mad. Freddy is a genius.

The biggest call was dropping the world’s best centre Latrell Mitchell.

His selections were widely panned. But genius is close to madness and Fittler showed his smarts with the massive 38-6 scoreline.

Having fun with Freddy: The coach’s selections paid off for NSW. Photo: Getty

It was hugely one-sided and his decision to recall Blake Ferguson, James Maloney, Wade Graham and Tom Trbojevic paid off big-time.

Debutants Daniel Saifiti and Dale Finucane also demonstrated they have what it takes to play at this level, while Jack Wighton did a great job in the centres.

Hat’s off to Fittler for his selection masterstroke. He proved just about everybody wrong.


Tommy Trbojevic is a freak of a footballer. Playing in the centres, not his natural position, proved no problem at all for the tall speedster.

The 22-year-old only returned from injury a match ago, but he was simply devastating for the Blues.

He scored one brilliant try, crossed for two more supporting James Tedesco and was held up over the line for another.

Trbojevic is the complete athletic package and is a match winner at fullback, wing or even in the centres. There’s no wonder the AFL’s Sydney Swans wanted to sign him up.

NSW is lucky to have him, not to mention his brother Jake.

Perth turns out for Origin

The NRL took State of Origin west for the first time and it was a huge success.

There have been games played in Melbourne over the years, and even one in Los Angeles, but never in Perth.

Optus Stadium turned out a capacity crowd of 59,721, in driving rain, making for a sensational spectacle.

Optus Stadium was lit up in Maroon, and then the Blues arrived. Photo: Getty

Western Australia got behind Origin and surely now the case to take matches to other cities, like Adelaide and Auckland, only gets stronger.

How about London in the future as well?

Origin at Wembley Stadium would be fantastic. The NRL should think big.

Magic Maloney is tailor made

James Maloney is tailor-made for State of Origin.

The Penrith playmaker set up two tries, nailed a 40-20 and generally led his team around the park perfectly.

A two-time NRL grand final winner, Maloney has been there, done it before and got the T-shirt.

The five-eighth’s experience was invaluable.

He took the pressure off Nathan Cleary in the first half, his kicking game was on point and he is a leader NSW got behind. An ultra-competitor, it was great to see him back in the sky blue shirt.

Maroons down but not out

Queensland might have lost but write it off at your peril.

The Maroons have won more series in Origin history and their spirit is legendary.

This Game II loss will hurt, and they were far from their best in both halves. But previous matches have shown that Queensland can always pull something out of the bag.

They will lick their wounds, regroup and lift for the decider. Expect a fiery response in Game III.

TV’s most bloated indulgence

Interviews at half-time as players go to the sheds are a non-event. Why do broadcasters persist with them?

The players are trying to regain their breath after an intense 40 minutes. There’s never any insight coming out of them as they look for a much-needed breather.

Channel Nine managed to speak to Cam Munster at the break and Munster mumbled a few clichés, along with an expletive.

You can’t blame Munster, who has been put through the ringer on the field, but surely the time has come for these inane and useless interviews to be binned.