State Of Origin Game 2: Cherry-Evans Inspires Queensland To Emphatic Series Win

The 34-year-old was in fine form as QLD took an unassailable 2-0 lead
13:01, 21 Jun 2023

Veteran skipper Daly Cherry-Evans and two-try centre Valentine Holmes led the way as Queensland beat New South Wales 32-6 on Wednesday to claim a 2-0 series lead and secure their 24th State of Origin title.

After their 26-18 win in Game 1 in Adelaide three weeks ago, the Maroons were pretty dominant throughout at Suncorp Stadium as they got on top of Brad Fittler’s side early and never let up in a predictably intense Game 2 battle.

And at the centre of it was Cherry-Evans, who had a hand in most of the key moments to leave the Blues counting the cost of the early loss of Tom Trbojevic with what is set to be a long-term injury.


The Manly Sea Eagles utility back tore a pectoral muscle inside the first three minutes, with Damien Cook playing out of position at left centre as part of the subsequent reshuffle. And it wasn’t much later that Queensland took the lead, Cherry-Evans’ kick over the top into the corner testing Josh Addo-Carr, who failed to claim the ball in a challenge with Xavier Coates and Valentine Holmes touched down.

Cherry-Evans then delivered a breathtaking cover tackle, the 34-year-old somehow getting across to fell Stephen Crichton, who was 20 shy of completing a sensational 90-metre breakaway try before being superbly taken out by the Manly scrum-half.

Moments later, QLD were 10 to the good after Murray Taulagi finished off following a DCE break which had set up field position for Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to put the North Queensland Cowboys winger in on the overlap.

The game and series were both put to bed soon after the half-time interval as Reece Walsh’s pass put in Holmes for his second try against an increasingly leggy Blues defence. And when Cook’s lack of familiarity with the centre position was shown up in attack, the home side again made them count as Tabuai-Fidow scored from a favourable bounce after Taulagi’s kick had left the covering prop Payne Haas wrong-footed.

Cook, usually a hooker, was the man to break NSW’s duck when he picked the ball up in broken play and stepped his way through to narrow the gap to 20-6, and that began a period during which the Blues really went at their hosts in the hope of completing a sensational late comeback.

But Cherry-Evans was once again pivotal as Queensland buried the contest, creating the extra space for Walsh to put in Coates at the corner, and Jeremiah Nanai cleaned up after Cook dropped a Cameron Munster kick to take the reigning champs past the 30-point mark.

There was still time for Addo-Carr to be sin-binned for a punch on Walsh during a fracas in the final minute, with the Queensland full-back being sent off for head butt and Jarome Luai also seeing red for a similar action within the melee. 

The final game of the series will be played in Sydney on Julty 11, with QLD looking to become the eighth team to complete a 3-0 sweep.


*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject to Change

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