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Five things we learnt from State of Origin 3

New South Wales restored some pride to the Blues jersey as they defeated Queensland 24-10 in game three of the State of Origin series.

The Maroons had the series in the bag after winning the opening two games, but were desperate to complete a rare series whitewash.

However, it was not to be as a new-look Blues side put on a show for a huge New South Wales crowd of over 75,000 to deny them.

The series belongs to Queensland, who were the better side in the opening two games, but from a Blues point of view there is hope for 2024.

It was another exciting game to wrap up the series, and showed just how tough it is to win a series 3-0.

It has only happened on eight occasions in the history of Origin, but what else did we learn after game three?

Best call-up justified

The decision of coach Brad Fittler to hand a debut to Newcastle centre Bradman Best came in for some heavy criticism.

However, the critics will be eating their words on Wednesday night after Best put in a debut performance that dreams are made of.

Best was a revelation when scoring two tries and proving that he is worthy of his place on the State of Origin stage.

The centre deserves plenty of praise, but so does Fittler for picking him in the first place.

Walker the star of the show

Best may have got two tries, but it was Cody Walker who was named Player of the Match following an outstanding performance that ripped the Maroons right edge to shreds.

Walker set the Blues left edge alight with his play, not only unlocking Best but also bringing winger Josh Addo-Carr and skipper James Tedeseco into the game.

In the heat of battle, Walker once again showed great composure, picking the right option and the best play every time.

The South Sydney playmaker was head and shoulders above everyone else on the park.

Maroons off the boil

It has often been said that defence wins Origin games, and for the first time in this series, the Maroons did not get it right.

The defence in the first two games was outstanding and part of the reason they got the job done, but in game three they did not reach those standards.

New South Wales have to be given plenty of credit for the way they played, however the Maroons will be disappointed with the way they performed.

However, once the dust settles they will take immense pride from the fact they have won another series to add to the one in 2022.

Tedesco answers the critics

Blues skipper James Tedesco is another player who will have silenced the critics with his performance in game three.

Remarkably some were calling for the gun fullback to be replaced, but again he showed his class with an impressive play.

The Sydney Roosters star ran 235 metres in the game and he set up Best for his second try of the game with an outstanding piece of footy.

What might have been?

The New South Wales win in game three and the manner of the performance will have many dreaming of what might have been.

If only Fittler had played Walker in game two instead of Jarome Luai, if only Best had played sooner.

There are plenty of ifs, buts and maybes but the Blues will look back to game one when they were leading against the 12 men of Queensland with just 10 minutes remaining, but somehow lost.

However, we did learn on Wednesday night that there is hope for the Blues, and the future of Origin is bright for both states. Bring on 2024.

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