Saturday 20 January 2018 / 11:54 AM

State of Origin II – Player Ratings



NSW 26 d. Queensland 18 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground




1 Josh Dugan: Magnificent again, chalking up 126 metres and seven tackles along with spearing through for the match-sealing try. 8.5


2 Brett Morris: Didn’t have quite the impact expected with six runs for 75 metres, but made a couple of line-breaks and was safe. 6


3 Michael Jennings: Absolutely outstanding, scorching through for the first try and running for 141 metres in giving Justin Hodges a bath. Superb from a player with a topsy-turvy Origin resumé. Deserving man-of-the-match.  9


4 Josh Morris: Good again and scored a fine try, but had problems with Inglis at times and made few inroads with the ball. 6.5


5 Will Hopoate: Few highlights but shored up one flank consummately and did a fair amount of work with the ball, carting it up 13 times. 6.5


6 Mitchell Pearce: Put a pinpoint bomb up for Josh Morris to score but his kicking game otherwise was abhorrent. Could have so easily ended up a nightmare if Inglis’ try had been allowed after his loose carry.5.5


7 Trent Hodkinson:  Cool-headed display even if there were few highlight-reel moments. Nice pass for Dugan’s try, kicked well and was impeccable in the goalkicking department. Will be retained, but a long way from answering the critics or securing another contract at his club – but he was the best of a bad bunch amongst the four halves on the field.  6.5


8 Aaron Woods: One of the most iconic front-row displays in Origin history. Outpointed his illustrious Maroons counterparts with 27 tackles and 16 runs for a game-high 142 metres, before dummying and stepping his way to a game-changing try with 18 minutes to go. 8.5


9 Robbie Farah: Led the tackle count with 49 and was at least Smith’s equal in a ruck-controlling sense. 7


10 James Tamou: Another solid outing, making 14 runs for 113 metres, but was credited with just 12 tackles. 6.5 


11 Beau Scott: His major contribution was harrying Thurston and Cherry-Evans. Figures of 17 tackles and four runs for 26 metres were underwhelming, but he was better than that.  6.5 


12 Ryan Hoffman: Never stopped working for the Blues, making a game-high 19 runs and equalling Woods with 142 metres, while also reeling off 21 tackles. 7


13 Paul Gallen (c): Despite leaving the field to get needled for a rib injury, was a workaholic in the middle of the park with 36 tackles and 17 runs for 133 metres. It wasn’t a vintage Origin display, but the skipper’s influence was palpable. 7.5


14 Trent Merrin: Received far more minutes this time around and made the most of it with 27 tackles and nine runs. 6.5


15 Boyd Cordner: Fairly anonymous until smashing Thurston with a great shot late in the contest.  Made 10 tackles and six hit-ups. 5.5


16 David Klemmer: The brutish Bulldog made 17 tackles and 11 hit-ups for 93 metres, but his aggression and take-no-prisoners approach was just as important. Seemingly made for Origin. 8


17 Josh Jackson: Did nothing wrong but not overly impressive in limited minutes, carrying the ball up just twice and racking up 15 tackles. 5.5




1 Billy Slater: Made an impact despite his highly-publicised shoulder injury and produced a gem of a ball in the lead-up to Inglis’ try, but produced a paltry return of 46 metres from nine runs. 6.5


2 Darius Boyd: Again, excellent work in the Inglis try, but received few other opportunities and didn’t appear to go looking for work. 6


3 Greg Inglis: Arguably Queensland’s worst in game one, ‘GI’ was easily the Maroons best at the MCG, scoring a brilliant try and several other busts before being controversially denied what could’ve been a series-sealing touchdown. 8


4 Justin Hodges: Schooled by Jennings defensively and was well-contained by the Blues, despite making seven dummy-half runs. 5.5


5 Will Chambers: The best player on the park in the series opener had a forgettable night, struggling to make the same impact with the ball and coming up with a couple of dumb plays. Made a team-high 121 metres but took the ball into touch twice. 6


6 Johnathan Thurston: Struggled for rhythm and was harassed superbly by the Blues’ defence. 6


7 Daly Cherry-Evans: Had the chance to answer plenty of critics but botched it completely, producing arguably the worst performance ever by a Queensland No.7. 4.5


8 Matt Scott: Powering over for the Maroons’ first try was unfortunately not a precursor to a typically dominant performance, finishing with just six hit-ups and being stepped by opposite Woods for a decisive NSW touchdown. 6


9 Cameron Smith (c):  Far less dominant than we are accustomed to seeing from the master puppeteer, although he still topped his side’s tackle count with 41. 6.5


10 Nate Myles: Solid enough with nine runs for 82 metres and 27 tackles, but certainly not his best at this level. 6.5


11 Aidan Guerra:  Got stuck in with 11 carries and 20 tackles. One of the beaten side’s better forwards. 6.5


12 Sam Thaiday:  Worked hard to make 32 tackles but totally anonymous with the ball, running the ball just four times for a pathetic 33 metres. 5


13 Corey Parker: Easily the best of the Queensland engine-room, leading the way with 13 runs for 117 metres, 36 tackles and a couple of offloads. 7.5


14 Michael Morgan: No chances with the ball and was unlucky to be credited with a couple of errors. Almost a hero for forcing the ball loose from Pearce but it wasn’t to be. 5


15 Josh McGuire: Great numbers off the bench – 22 tackles and nine runs for 81 metres – but didn’t overly stand out.6.5


16 Matt Gillett: Barged over for a vital try and made 26 tackles along with six carries. Decent contribution. 6.5


17 Jacob Lillyman:  Workmanlike as always, but may be in the firing line for the decider in favour of someone with more impact like Papalii or Napa. Made 15 tackles and seven nondescript hit-ups. 5.5

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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