Wednesday 21 February 2018 / 01:47 PM


The Queensland Maroons forced a series-deciding Game III by coming from behind to down New South Wales 18-16, thanks to a Dane Gagai try and Johnathan Thurston conversion from near the sideline with three minutes left in the game. Here’s how we saw the performance of all 17 Maroons in Origin II.

1. Billy Slater

Excellent in his return to this level. Constantly showed up in the right place in defence, recovering kicks well. His crabbing run commanded enough attention from the NSW defence and created a gap for Michael Morgan and Dane Gagai to set up and execute the game-tying try. Won his ongoing battle with James Maloney and had just under 100 running metres from the back of the field by full-time. 8/10

2. Valentine Holmes

Miraculous finish on the opening try. While that was his biggest moment of the match, with his side tending to favour the other edge of the field in attack, Holmes didn’t let anyone down for the remainder and enjoyed a strong Origin debut. 6/10

3. Will Chambers

His night ended with a nasty head knock, but prior to that Chambers had been very good for the away team. He summed up options well to put Gagai away for his first try. Was nice and busy in the opening exchanges and had more than 120 run metres by the end. 7.5/10

4. Darius Boyd

Provided a nice final touch for the opening try to Holmes. Tried to get involved as the champion minutes came around. Got through 16 tackles – something he wouldn’t be too used to at fullback – with just the one miss. A nice option to have in your centres. 7/10

5. Dane Gagai

He was one of the best in a Maroons jersey in Origin I, and he only got better this time around. Scored two tries, delivering the killer blow to NSW with a four-pointer three minutes from time. He also ran for 189 metres, but his attack only tells part of the story, and the Newcastle flyer was also massive under the high ball for Queensland. 8.5/10

6. Johnathan Thurston

Well contained for the most part. Showed nerves of steel – yet again – to nail the match-winning conversion. Kept NSW honest with his play at the line. A brave effort considering he looked in immense pain at times due to that shoulder injury which kept him out of Origin I. 7/10

7. Cooper Cronk

For so much of the game Cronk’s efforts on the ball went unrewarded, as the Blues scrambled to shut down most of the set plays he was involved in and belted him when he took it to the line. But he persevered and played a big role in orchestrating the late surge for Queensland. 6.5/10

8. Dylan Napa

Did his job without causing New South Wales a great deal of trouble with his carries. Went looking for work when the game was on the line though. A game-high seven missed tackles will be of some concern. 7/10

9. Cameron Smith

Hardly raised a sweat while fans all over the world lost their minds in the closing minutes. The Kangaroos skipper had a number of opportunities to throw risky offloads or produce 50/50 plays in the second half, but refused to be wasteful with the Steeden, and that seemed to spread throughout his team, who eventually won the match by showcasing the type of patience and grit which Smith almost has a trademark on. Pulled the strings around the ruck as usual. 6.5/10

10. Jarrod Wallace

Only played 22 minutes and registered just two carries in that time – albeit at an average of over 10 metres per run – but this wasn’t the Origin debut he dreamed of. Was tidy in defence though with 15 tackles without a miss. 4/10

11. Gavin Cooper

Worth his weight in gold for the way he looked after Thurston out on the left side, getting through 47 tackles. Didn’t shirk his work on the other side either, carrying 12 times for over 100 metres. 7.5/10

12. Matt Gillett

Classy as usual down his edge, playing the full 80 minutes. Added some variety to the attack with some angled runs and was ever-present off the ball. 6.5/10

13. Josh McGuire

Showed plenty of variety in his runs and gave the Maroons some real impact, particularly in the second half. His hit and spin saw him break the line and help set up Gagai’s try on 53 minutes. Had some silly errors in him though, and it was his unnecessary penalty which led to NSW’s first try. 7.5/10


14. Michael Morgan

Came up with a genius flick pass to set up the match-winning try for Gagai, showing admirable poise while playing out of position in the centres. Had a fairly minimal impact otherwise, going close to scoring right on half-time. 6/10

15. Josh Papalii

Certainly added something when he came onto the field, but many of his carries lacked real conviction. Still managed to run for just under 100 metres in a bit over half an hour on the park. 6/10

16. Coen Hess

Didn’t get a look-in through the first half and only played 19 minutes in the end with limited impact. Carried three times for 16 metres and played like he was nervous at times. Will be better for the run. 5/10

17. Tim Glasby

Missed a tackle on James Maloney which allowed him to break the line and set up Morris for NSW’s second try, while he also missed his assignment a few minutes later in the lead-up to Mitchell Pearce’s try. But he recovered to put together a decent 26-minute stint, carrying for 72 metres and getting through his share in defence. 5/10

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Corey Rosser

One of CBS’s newest contributors, Te Aroha product Corey is the New Zealand correspondent for, the editor for the excellent new site Kiwi League Central, and a guru of the local Auckland rugby league scene.

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