Andrew Johns slammed New South Wales for a “very poor” performance in Origin I, blaming their defeat on a “terrible” attacking display.
The Blues lost 26-18 in Adelaide on Wednesday night as Queensland pulled off another classic Origin escape, scoring two tries in four minutes despite a man down.
The Maroons trailed by two when Tom Flegler was beaten with 12 minutes left, but Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Cameron Munster stunned the Blues as Queensland closed in on a second straight series win.
After Queensland raced out of the blocks to take a 10-0 lead, New South Wales grew in the game but wasted a host of chances thanks to a mix of superb Maroons in defense and a lack of composure.
The Blues had more possession, completed more sets than Queensland and had nearly 100 yards more contact than their opponents, but it was all in vain.
New South Wales lost 26-18 to Queensland in Origin I on Wednesday night in Adelaide
The Blues topped most statistical categories but failed to make it count
Reflecting on the result on the Channel Nine panel, Johns said the Blues had only themselves to blame for the defeat.
“The attack was terrible,” he said.
“They had so much momentum, so much possession [but failed to make it count].
“There was a good try from Liam Martin when the halves came together and then Api Koroisau scores a dodgy try and Stephen Crichton scores a kick.
“With all that position on the pitch, that momentum and that possession, you have to score.”
The Blues were countered by outstanding defensive work from Murray Taulagi, who prevented a certain try by slipping his hand under Tyson Frizell’s ball-carrying arm to prevent him from scoring.
While Johns acknowledged the Maroons were “sensational” defensively, he insisted the Blues should have given it a shot.
‘Queensland is scrambled [defence] was sensational,” Rugby League Immortal said.
Andrew Johns slammed the Blues’ ‘terrible’ attacking performance after the game
Stephen Crichton (left) put the Blues back in front just 14 minutes from time but they couldn’t hold on, despite playing on the power play for 10 minutes
“They were brave and defensively they held off a few in the first half but you just have to be better.
‘It was really poor. I thought New South Wales was really poor.
Blues legend Phil Gould echoed the sentiments.
“New South Wales looked clumsy, they didn’t look confident on the ball at all,” he said on Nine.
The “New South Wales” attack was terrible. There was no confidence in the movement of the ball. There didn’t seem to be a plan that everyone was connected to.
“I think it was too complex for what they needed in Origin. Make your attackers work hard, run, make your hooker creative [and] everyone just runs fast.
New South Wales’ lack of clinical advantage was compounded by shoddy defensive work, which allowed Queensland to turn things around late.
There looked to be little threat as Munster ran parallel to the Blues defense on the Maroons 35-yard line late in the second half, but Origin debutant Nicho Hynes missed a tackle on the Melbourne champions Storm.
That allowed Munster to feed Tabuai-Fidow on the outside, the Dolphins speedster running away from Josh Addo-Carr, then cut inside to score as James Tedesco lost his footing.
“I know the players were defending out of position, but you have to understand your defensive role and you have to tackle,” Johns added.
‘With a man down, they [Queensland] score two tries while the game was in play.’
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (middle) scored a late try to put Queensland ahead
Cameron Munster sealed a famous win with another try minutes later
The Maroons try three minutes later was arguably even worse, as Lindsay Collins passed five New South Wales players to collect Daly Cherry-Evans’ bombshell past Tedesco, before finding Munster in acres of ‘space.
“The worrying thing about Lindsay Collins taking the ball is that the space was terrible,” Johns said.
“When Lindsay Collins takes the ball and passes it inside Munster, he has passed five New South Wales players. […] They stopped.
“You can’t let them go like this with the game on the line. It was really poor.