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Maroons' Mr Nobody has the last laugh over "dumb" Blues

Rugby League

Queensland’s remarkable State of Origin win over NSW last night wasn’t too bad considering they were only playing with 16 players.

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Or at least that’s how coach Kevin Walters and captain Cameron Smith returned serve at the Sydney media following the hammering of Origin bolter Tim Glasby.

Walters made a point to single out Glasby’s performance, after the biggest Queensland bolter in a decade got through more running metres per minute than any other Maroon.

“‘Tim Who’ was excellent for us,” Walters said.

“We know the qualities he brings to the team and he was excellent for us.”

The Maroons brought in four debutants for the must-win clash with the Blues – the most of any Queensland team since their dynasty started in 2006.

All experienced trying nights at stages.

Valentine Holmes dropped the ball on his first touch, before recovering to score the opening try in controversial fashion, when it appeared his foot had touched the sideline but the bunker ruled there was insufficient evidence to suggest he stepped out.

Jarrod Wallace ran just 22 metres in two runs, and wasn’t sighted after he came off the field midway through the first half.

Coen Hess had to wait until the 57th minute to get off the bench, but according to Fox Sports Stats had just three runs once he came on.

But it was the performance of Glasby which attracted the most joy from Storm teammate Smith.

“It’s one of the best (wins), considering four debutants – and apparently one of the debutants not many people know him,” Smith said.

“That was a pretty fair effort to get the win tonight – with 16 men – in Sydney.”

Glasby’s debut started slowly but it was in attack where he stood proud.

Brought in to shut down the Blues’ forward pack with his dominant tackling style, Glasby had a defensive hand in two NSW tries in his first five minutes.

But the Melbourne prop rebounded to make 18 tackles and 65 metres in his 25-minute stint either side of halftime.

For Glasby the media criticism was the proverbial water off a duck’s back.

“People can say what they like but I’m very comfortable in what I bring to the team,” Glasby said.

“Stats don’t tell the whole story. They certainly tell a bit of the story but they don’t tell the whole thing.

“It’s part of the banter of Origin. With all the changes that were made to the team, there was always going to be the questioning of selections.

“And I was always going to be the easy target because I was a pretty unexpected selection for everyone.”

Amid the fallout of what is widely considered another Blues choke, NSW legend Andrew Johns blasted the team for failing to target an injured Johnathan Thurston in their State of Origin II loss, that ties the series.

In an extraordinary post-match tirade Johns labelled the Blues’ second half performance as one of the dumbest halves of football in Origin history.

Johns pointed out how NSW strayed away from a first half assault on Thurston – led by second-rower Tyson Frizell – that set up a 16-6 halftime lead at ANZ Stadium.

The Maroons halfback missed a game-high four of his 13 tackles for the match.

“They had all the running, their gameplan was perfect,” Johns said on the Nine Network post game.

“You got a player out there that can not pick his arm up off the ground and they didn’t target him, his side of the field, or go at the defenders either side.

“If he’s buggered, the defenders either side are so nervous, then you manipulate the holes inside and outside him. But they didn’t go there once, I didn’t know what they were doing.”

Johns, who was part of five series triumphs, was stunned to see the Blues welcome the Maroons back into the game in the second period and reverted to robotic plays.

He accused the Blues of putting the cue in the rack.

“They stopped playing, then they went back to this out-the-back block plays and were no threat. We’ve got JT here who’s shoulder was absolutely buggered,” he said.

“How they didn’t identify that, was rubbish. You can see him there, he can not pick his right shoulder up. That’s the game plan. You just go at him the whole game.”

Johns is adamant Thurston is so injured that he will undergo surgery in the next few days.

“I think he’ll be going in for an operation this week,” he said.

“The way he was holding that shoulder, there’s no way he can continue, which speaks volumes for Thurston and the way he played on.”


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