New South Wales 34-10 Queensland: Cleary stars to force Origin decider

By Sports Desk November 11, 2020

New South Wales levelled the State of Origin series after a dominant 34-10 victory in game two on Wednesday.

The Maroons edged the opener in Adelaide last week with a four-point victory as they turned around a 10-0 half-time deficit.

It was the Blues who recorded a comeback in front of more than 36,000 fans in Syndey, though, as they overturned Xavier Coates' sublime opening try with six of their own, including a double from Josh Addo-Carr.

Some haphazard Queensland defending and imperious kicking from Nathan Cleary helped New South Wales to force a decider in Brisbane in a week's time.

Coates put Queensland in front with a quite spectacular score, leaping high to touch down in the corner under pressure with eight minutes on the clock.

The Blues were 12-4 up inside half an hour, though, Cody Walker going over before James Tedesco drove through a gap and over the line, with Cleary twice adding the extras.

The advantage was stretched before the interval when Addo-Carr skipped through in straightforward fashion after the Blues suddenly found themselves four-on-three from a 10-metre scrum.

New South Wales carried that momentum into the second half and cemented their advantage within three minutes of the restart, Jack Wighton squaring up his man before forcing his way over the try line after Queensland wilted against a series of drives.

The visiting defence was in complete disarray and Daniel Tupou got his first Origin try as the Blues again attacked with a man advantage following a scrum, although Cleary missed his first attempt with the boot when he clipped the post.

As frustrations built, scuffles began to break out and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Payne Haas were sent to the sin bin following a brawl.

Josh Papalii powered over to give Queensland a lifeline only for Addo-Carr to gather Walker's clever kick and score his eighth Origin try, making certain of a third game next week before Cleary's late penalty capped a resounding win.

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    430 – Smith holds the record for most NRL games following a glittering career in the Australian competition, having debuted for the Storm in 2002. He is the only player to have amassed over 400 appearances.

    310 – He also holds the record for most wins in premiership matches. Of those victories, 242 were as skipper – the most as a captain.

    2,786 – No player has scored more points in NRL premiership history than the hooker, well ahead of Hazem El Masri (2,418) and Johnathan Thurston (2,222).

    1,295 – Smith stands alone for goals kicked in the NRL – 353 more than any other player in premiership history.

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    3 – Smith ends his NRL career with Premierships in 2012, 2017 and 2020. It could have been five, but the Storm were stripped of Grand Final triumphs in 2007 and 2009 due to salary-cap breaches.

    42 – A Maroons veteran, he is the most-capped player in State of Origin history. Smith first appeared for Queensland in 2003.

    56 – Smith represented Australia more than fifty times. Only Darren Lockyer (59) managed more than Smith for the Kangaroos.

    33 – Lockyer (38) is the only player to have captained Australia on more occasions than Smith, who led the country to Rugby League World Cup glory in 2013 and 2017.

    2 – Smith was crowned the NRL's best and fairest player in 2006 and 2017. Only Thurston (four) and Andrew Johns (three) earned more honours.

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