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Maroons won’t be rushed into changes as careers on the line

Match Report: Fifita stars as Blues smash MaroonsPlayer Ratings: How New South Wales faredPlayer Ratings: How Queensland fared
Nanjing Night Net

Maroons coach Kevin Walters says his side won’t rush into any changes despite being on the end of a battering as NSW steamrolled their way to a 1-0 lead in the State of Origin series.

The Blues can wrap up the season in Sydney after a 28-4 victory at Suncorp Stadium, dominating virtually every facet of play in what many have interpreted as the end of Queensland’s wondrous era.

Walters and selectors Darren Lockyer and Gene Miles will now be under pressure to introduce some new blood for game two, particularly in the forwards. Jarrod Wallace and Cowboys youngster Coen Hess will come into contention in the pack, as will Billy Slater and Valentine Holmes in the backs.

Walters said he wasn’t sure if Johnathan Thurston would return but doubted he would have been able to turn back the sea of blue in Brisbane as Andrew Fifita left a trail of destruction in the middle of the field and James Tedesco and Jarryd Hayne added the finishing flourishes.

“It was a disappointing night. We got a bit of a lesson about Origin football and how it should be played. They gave us nothing in the first half. That try was a big turning point in the game. That lifted their spirits and put a big dent in ours. We got a bit of a lesson tonight,” Walters said.

“I’m not sure about John. He’ll have to get back to his club doctors. We’re hopeful of getting him for game two. All due respect, I think if he was out there the scoreline would have been closer. But they were pretty dominant through the middle and he doesn’t play there.”

The burning question now for the Maroons is even if they make changes, which look a must on that evidence, do they have the big bodies to fight fire with fire?

“We’re going to find out in game two,” Walters said. “Our boys have to get back to their clubs and work on the little things in their game. That’s the plan.”

And in trying to curtail the movements of Fifita: “We couldn’t seem to handle him too well. He was pretty potent.”

Walters said they would now turn to club form to see who may step into the breach. Nate Myles suffered an elbow injury but looks vulnerable, as does centre Justin O’Neill, a defensive centre that managed to miss eight tackles.

Aidan Guerra and Jacob Lillyman will also be fighting for their Origin careers.

“We’ll make some smart decisions, informed decisions around game two,” Walters said.

Maroons captain Cameron Smith offered up no excuses, saying NSW were far too good and gave them no opportunities to get into the contest for any length of time.

“We all wanted it to be a special night but you can’t win every game. We’ve lost this one. We accept that and see where we can be better. We need to be. We weren’t good enough.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.