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Five things we learnt from State of Origin game two

Queensland wrapped up the State of Origin series at the earliest opportunity as they brushed aside New South Wales in game two.

The manner of the 32-6 victory at Suncorp Stadium will have sent shock waves through the New South Wales camp and proves that for now at least the Maroons are the top dogs.

There is still one game to come at Accor Stadium in Sydney and Billy Slater’s side are now going all out to complete a series whitewash.

WhatNew South Wales v Queensland
WhereAccor Stadium, Sydney
When20:05 (AEST), Wednesday 12th July
How to watchChannel 9
OddsNew South Wales 2.10, Queensland 1.75

Queensland are priced at 1.75 to win game three and on the evidence of the first two games, they will take some stopping.

But before we head to Sydney, let’s take a look at the five things we learnt from State of Origin game two.

Slater proves his worth

Of course a lot of credit has to go to the Queensland players for the way they have performed in the opening two games of Origin.

The quality is there and each and every player has stepped up to the plate, out-fought the opposition all over the pitch and got the job done.

However, the role that Billy Slater has played in another huge series win cannot be underestimated.

Slater had never coached before heading into the role in 2022, yet has masterminded two State of Origin series wins back-to-back.

The former Melbourne Storm and Maroons ace, clearly has outstanding man-management skills and he has also out-coached Blues counterpart Brad Fittler once again.

Queensland could dominate for years

The exciting thing for the state of Queensland and the scary prospect for New South Wales is that the Maroons look set up to dominate for years to come.

Despite one or two players, like Daly Cherry-Evans and Ben Hunt, coming towards the end of their careers, they have a very youthful side.

Twenty-year-old fullback Reece Walsh was outstanding once again and Kalyn Ponga has little chance of dislodging him if he stays fit.

Then consider the rest of the side. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (21), Xavier Coates (22), Murray Taulagi (24), Jeremiah Nanai (20), David Fifita (23) and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (23) could shine for years to come.

Harry Grant, is just 25, while Reuben Cotter (24), Thomas Flegler (23), Patrick Carrigan (25) and Moeaki Fotuaika (23) have years ahead of them.

And don’t forget the players waiting in the wings either - with this crop of players and Slater at the helm, the Blues have a lot to worry about.

Fittler gets it wrong in centres

New South Wales suffered a huge blow in the opening minutes when losing star centre Tom Trbojevic to a torn pectoral.

However, coach Brad Fittler’s decision to replace him with hooker Damien Cook was the wrong one. Maybe hindsight is a wonderful thing, but Cameron Murray may have been the better option.

It seems the fact that Murray was carrying a groin niggle was behind the decision, along with the fact Cook’s pace could help combat Reece Walsh.

Isaah Yeo playing there could have been another option. In any case the decision to put Cook there proved to be the wrong one.

Blues struggle to gel

Just as in game one the Blues had plenty of possession and good field position, but could not make it count.

Again credit must be given to the way Queensland defended, but a quality New South Wales side with that much possession must be doing more.

However, their attack was clunky and that made the job a whole lot easier for Queensland.

The fact that the main playmakers have not played together much was clear for all to see.

NSW need a review

It has been suggested that New South Wales need a review into what has gone wrong and it is hard to disagree.

They have had issues on the injury front with Latrell Mitchell and Nathan Cleary ruled out, while the loss of Trbojevic was huge on Wednesday.

However, there is enough quality in the New South Wales side to cover the absence of key players.

The position of coach Fittler will also be in the spotlight and there is a good chance that game three in Sydney will be his last.

With or without Fittler, New South Wales have to come up with something, otherwise for reasons mentioned above, Queensland could dominate for years.

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