The State of Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium was always going to be a test for New South Wales, but after 80 minutes it was clear the Blues flunked out before stepping on the field. An opportunistic, aggressive and more motivated Queensland side dominated from whistle-to-whistle to win 52-6 and capture the State of Origin shield.
The Blues were aggressive to start the game, knocking on the door within the game's first two minutes. A careless penalty from Queensland forced an early decision, which led to the Blues taking the two points rather than press for more. Initially this seemed like a sensible choice, but it became clear as the game progressed that New South Wales wouldn't get many attacking opportunities.
Queensland was simply more aggressive in the first half. Hitting harder, playing faster and proving to be more opportunistic. The Maroons kept their emotions in check and capitalized when New South Wales lost its cool, including Trent Merrin's dangerous lifting tackle late in the first half.
Photo Mark Kolbe, Getty Images
This became the lay of the land for the remainder of the game. New South Wales was concerned with trying to make statements with hits and thrown punches, while the Maroons were simply preoccupied with winning the game. It's no wonder this decider was a blowout when only one team was playing rugby league.
The game for New South Wales was embarrassing. Queensland was the better team this series, but not to the magnitudes shown at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night. The Maroons scored try after try, while the Blues were a whirlwind of flailing inactivity -- knocking the ball on, throwing pointless punches and trying to claw back some sort of respectability when it was abundantly clear the game was impossible to win.
The faces in the New South Wales coaching booth said it all. Shock, disappointment -- checking their watches, anxiously waiting for the beat down to end.
Perhaps the series would have been different if Jarryd Hayne hadn't left for the NFL, maybe Blues fans can justify the loss due to the absence of Robbie Farah -- both of these would be wrong. Neither were applicable in this game. New South Wales could have had a three-man advantage and remain unable to hurt this Queensland team on this night. On Wednesday the Maroons were impenetrable.