State of Origin 2022: Stay up to date with the latest news, opinion and analysis ahead of game two

If you’re going to go with combinations in the creative positions, then you might as well go ‘all in’. But are the Blues ‘all in’ enough? MATTY JOHNS says no.

Have New South Wales made all the right moves since their game one Origin flop?

And what can we expect from game two on Sunday night?

Matty Johns looks at all the big issues ahead of Sunday night’s blockbuster.

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I like the changes to the New South Wales team, although I still can’t work out why there’s no Josh Addo-Carr.

Matt Burton at left centre will help Jerome Luai, halves love centres who they can just throw the ball to occasionally, letting them do some of the creative work.

Burton reminds me so much of Matt Gidley. Both classy left handed, left foot kickers, both excellent playmakers, but even better in the centres.

The Isaah Yeo head knock was a huge moment in Game I. Yeo is the chief playmaker, he’ll make the majority of the pass decisions through the centre-field.

This will be an even faster match than Game I. Perth suits the Blues, but any team that gets a prolonged period of dominance could rattle up points.

I expect both sides to score 20 points plus, and I’m tipping the Blues 1-6 points. Isaah Yeo

Man of the Match. Murray Tuilagi First Try Scorer.

Blues have dropped the ball by not selecting Addo-Carr. Picture: Matt King/Getty
Blues have dropped the ball by not selecting Addo-Carr. Picture: Matt King/Getty

PHONE BOX FOOTBALL

Most of the time State of Origin is football played in a phone box.

You get little time and space to attack. You’re up against the best players, the best defenders, at the top of their game, energised and motivated.

If you go into the match wanting to finesse the football then you’re going to run into trouble.

In Game I New South Wales were so keen to get their attacking sequences on that they forgot you need to earn the right to do the clever stuff.

Their go forward lacked punch and penetration and never got Nathan Cleary out of the phone box.

I wrote going into Game I, that the Blues had an attack that had a pass first bias. That can be tricky in State of Origin, particularly when it’s played on the slippery Sydney surface.

Meanwhile Queensland’s attack was run first bias, led by Cameron Munster.

The run first stuff suits Origin because it’s a simpler form of attack. If you’re struggling for momentum it bleeds less errors than if you’re trying to push passes under pressure.

NSW could never get Nathan Cleary out of the phone box in Origin 1. Picture: Getty Images
NSW could never get Nathan Cleary out of the phone box in Origin 1. Picture: Getty Images

THE ADJUSTMENT

The drier Perth surface and the fact that the game is being played at 6pm over there to fit in with prime-time on the eastern seaboard is a plus for the way the Blues want to attack.

Yeo leading the attack with his clever decision making, and Cleary, Luai and Tedesco feeding off that.

But the Blues need more up-field thrust than they had in Game I. Even the playmakers need to present more direct.

I really loved the way Nathan Cleary adjusted in Penrith’s Newcastle victory after his disappointing first game.

From Nathan’s opening touches he looked to challenge the middle defenders aggressively, scoring in the opening minutes.

From there everything fell into place, he put on a masterclass.

If the Blues’ forwards are once again slowed in the play-the-ball, the playmakers need to roll up their sleeves and prepare to wear some bruises, because sideways passing isn’t going to do it.

API IN

Starting with Api Koroisau is a good move. If you’re going to go with combinations in the creative positions, then go all in.

If Yeo, Cleary and Luai are the chief creatives then give them the man who throws the ball to them 95% of the time. Damien Cook was selected because of his incumbency and the fact that he’d gotten the job done before.

But if you’re going by that selection process where’s Josh Addo-Carr? And where was Jake

Trbojevic Game I?

This adjustment of Api starting won’t just suit the playmakers, it will suit Damien Cook himself.

Cook coming onto the field at the 30 minute mark has the potential to be a match winning move, particularly if the Blues are able to generate play-the-balls at a decent and consistent speed.

With the speed that this Origin will be played, Cook could tear the Maroons’ middle apart.

Api Koroisau will start in game two. Picture: Getty Images
Api Koroisau will start in game two. Picture: Getty Images

AND ANOTHER THING…..

State of Origin football on a clear, dry, Sunday afternoon would be some of the greatest Rugby League we’ve seen played.

Afternoon football is fast, free-flowing and suits the great attack players.

I would love to see the Game II Sunday Origin played at 3pm.

Originally published as State of Origin 2022: Stay up to date with the latest news, opinion and analysis ahead of game two

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