NSW celebratory pic
NSW have levelled the State of Origin series with a thumping 38-18 win over Queensland in game 2. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS
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NSW demolish Queensland in 38-18 Origin II win

George Clarke June 26, 2024

NSW have salvaged their State of Origin campaign, sending the series to a decider after demolishing Queensland in a 38-18 bloodbath.

In front of 90,084 fans at Melbourne’s MCG, halfback Mitchell Moses was the key for the Blues, setting up four tries and tormenting the rudderless Maroons with his long kicking game.

Prop Payne Haas led NSW from the front with one of his most dominant Origin performances, while Latrell Mitchell made an impression by scoring a try in his first Blues appearance since 2021.

 Mitchell Moses was named man of the match in the 38-18 win over Queensland. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS 

Moses, Mitchell and Haas will all be required to find that level once again as NSW dare to dream.

The Blues have not won a decider in Brisbane since 2005 but they will go to Suncorp Stadium on July 17 brimming with confidence after bullying the Maroons off the park.

“It was nice to see the leaders went out and controlled the game,” Blues coach Michael Maguire said.

“What you saw in the first half is what I believe this group is capable of. We have got to replicate that.

“Mitch came in and did what I believed he was capable of doing, he was strong with the way he wanted to play the game.” 

Queensland were directionless and looked rattled when the Blues cruised to a 34-0 halftime lead.

Electric fullback Reece Walsh was barely sighted, and his inability to inject himself into the game will only increase the focus on the Blues’ tactics to shut him down.

“It was a tough first half, it felt like we were running uphill,” Queensland coach Billy Slater said. 

“Part of that is on us … we just couldn’t stop the momentum of the game.

“I will look at our game and work out what we need to adjust. 

“One thing I do know is that there is another game in three weeks’ time.”

Queensland threatened early when Jaydn Su’A burst through on the left edge but was unable to offload to a supporting runner.

NSW breathed a sigh of relief and drew first blood when they were granted four back-to-back sets.

Moses exploited a tiring Maroons defence to send Liam Martin over for NSW’s first try of the night in the 10th minute.

Queensland needed to be faultless but a shanked kick from winger Murray Taulagi on the last gave the Blues a seven-tackle set.

Stephen Crichton dragged Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow back into the Queensland in-goal on the next set which paved the way for Mitchell to send Brian To’o over in the corner.

 Zac Lomax scored two tries for NSW in a strong Origin performance. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS 

Moses was suffocating the Maroons with his boot and he continued with a chipped kick for Zac Lomax in the right corner.

Lomax out-jumped Taulagi to touch down and Moses repeated the play, crabbing round to the left edge and glancing a grubberkick through for To’o to pounce on in the 26th minute.

Moses was dishing it out in defence, too, forcing an error from Tom Dearden that allowed the Blues to charge down the Queensland end through interchange prop Spencer Leniu.

Leniu had one of his trademark cavalier runs as the Blues further turned the screw, with Mitchell and Lomax scoring before halftime.

Lomax kicked five of his six first-half conversion attempts to give the Blues a 34-0 advantage at the break, the biggest halftime lead in Origin history.

It took until the 53rd minute for the Maroons to get off the mark, Jeremiah Nanai barging over after Blues forward Liam Martin and Queensland lock Patrick Carrigan had been sin-binned for a push and shove.

Tabuai-Fidow and Taulagi crossed for second-half Queensland tries but the Blues had already done the damage. 

Mitchell, Martin and Maroons centre Valentine Holmes were all charged by the NRL’s match review committee but all three will be clear to play Origin III, escaping with fines.