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A record-breaking first-half frenzy set the NSW Blues on the path to a resounding 38-18 victory over the Maroons in Origin Two at the MCG on Wednesday night.

On the back of the MCG massacre the Blues head to Suncorp Stadium in three weeks' time looking to repeat their heroics of 1994, 2005 and 2019 when they recovered from 1-0 down to win the series. 

The Blues made an early statement through centre Stephen Crichton as he powered into the back field but the opportunity went astray as he pushed a pass and the ball was lost.

The Maroons returned serve immediately with Jaydn Su'A exploding into space but Blues debutant Dylan Edwards came up with a solid front-on tackle.

On the back of a penalty against Lindsay Collins for a high shot and backl-to-back six-agains the Blues mounted the early pressure and Jarome Luai earned a line dropout with a neat grubber.

Liam Martin Try

In the ensuing set it was player of the match Mitch Moses going to the line and putting Liam Martin into space between Tom Dearden and Su'A to grab the game's opening try in the 11th minute.

The Maroons were next to challenge in the 16th minute when Walsh went short side on the last play and found winger Murray Taulagi who kicked ahead but the ball took a hard bounce and rolled dead.

Just two minutes later the Blues turned the weight of possession into a second try when Latrell Mitchell produced a sublime flick pass to put Brian To'o over in the left corner. Zac Lomax converted from the sideline for a 12-0 lead.

Zac Lomax Try

New halfback Moses then stamped his class on the game with a pinpoint cross field kick for Lomax to soar above Taulagi and score in the 24th minute before putting in a grubber for To'o to bag his second just three minutes later and the Blues were out to a scarcely believable 22-0 lead.

With seven minutes remaining in the half the Blues again launched a left side raid which Mitchell finished off after brilliant lead-up from Luai, Angus Crichton and Edwards, who delivered the final pass.

With half-time looming the Blues iced an incredible opening 40 when Moses, Edwards and Stephen Crichton combined to put Lomax over for his second, the Dragons winger banging over his fifth conversion to make it 34-0.

On the back of 68 per cent of possession in the first half the Blues had piled on the most points by any team in the opening stanza of an Origin game and they started the second half on song with Moses forcing a turnover with strong defence on Dearden.

Brian To'o 2nd Try

As tensions boiled over in the 51st minute after a melee it was Martin and Pat Carrigan who found themselves in the sin as referee Ashley Klein looked to regain control of proceedings.

The Maroons finally cracked the Blues defence in the 54th minute when Daly Cherry-Evans put edge back-rower Jeremiah Nanai into a hole and Val Holmes converted to cut the margin to 28 points.

With 20 minutes remaining it was try machine Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow crossing courtesy of a Taulagi chip ahead to pull the Maroons back to 34-12.

Zac Lomax 2nd Try

An offside penalty against Nanai invited the Blues into the red zone again and Moses put Edwards over for his first Origin try with a peach of a pass that bamboozled the Maroons defence.

Although well beaten the Maroons continued to fight on and Taulagi crossed wide out to make it 38-18 with Holmes' conversion.

From there the Blues closed out an emphatic victory to ensure the series would head to a decider on Queensland's home deck on July 17.

Match Snapshot

  • Blues prop Payne Haas produced a huge opening stint with 13 runs for 137 metres in 32 minutes of game time. He finished the night with 193 metres.
  • Blues captain Jake Trbojevic played the first 25 minutes before being replaced, racking up 52 run metres and 12 tackles.
  • Maroons centre Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow left the field in the 24th minute with a shoulder injury but was able to return for the second half.
  • Latrell Mitchell's try in the 33rd minute was his first Origin four-pointer since Game 3, 2021.
  • Blues halfback Mitch Moses' four try assists is the equal most for any player in an Origin match (Brad Fittler, Game 3, 2000).
  • Maroons winger Murray Taulagi ran for 155 metres and had three line breaks.

Carrigan sent to the bin

  • NSW completed 21 of 22 sets in the first half at 92 per cent. The Maroons had just 12 sets in the opening half.
  • Liam Martin (head pat) and Pat Carrigan (second man in) were sin binned in the 51st minute.
  • Maroons centre Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow has scored nine tries in six Origins.
  • Blues back-rower Angus Crichton ran for 159 metres and had six tackle breaks.
  • The crowd of 90,084 at the MCG is the second biggest crowd in Origin history.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow Try

  • The Blues put in a successful captain's challenge in the 29th minute when the bunker ruled ruck interference after referee Ashley Klein had called a knock on against Dylan Edwards in the play the ball.
  • The Blues had 39 tackle breaks to 21 for the night.
  • The Blues have won five of the six Origin games played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
  • Maroons forward Reuben Cotter left the field in the 36th minute for a HIA which he passed.
  • Of the 43 Origin series since 1982, this will be the 23rd to go to a decider.

It's boiling over

  • Blues duo Latrell Mitchell and Liam Martin were both placed on report for dangerous tackles while Martin went on report a second time for late contact on the kicker.
  • Cameron Murray and Reece Robson came up with 57 tackles between them for the Blues.
  • Blues utility Connor Watson was sent into the game in the 64th minute for his Origin debut.
  • Maroons centre Val Holmes is now the third highest pointscorer in Origin history with 130, behind only Johnathan Thurston (220) and Mal Meninga (161).
  • Blues fullback Dylan Edwards enjoyed a fine debut with 19 runs for 185 metres and six tackle breaks.
  • Jeremiah Nanai and Pat Carrigan worked themselves to a standstill with 83 tackles between them for the Maroons.

Moses all over Dearden and forces a mistake

Play of the Game 

Latrell Mitchell's much hyped return to the Origin arena for the first time since 2021 paid off big time for the Blues in the 18th minute when he took a pass from Jarome Luai and attracted two defenders before getting a glorious flick pass to Brian To'o for the Blues' second of the night. The pass revived memories of Mitchell's ball to put Daniel Tupou away in the 2019 grand final in the build-up to James Tedesco's match-sealing try for the Roosters.

Brian To'o Try

What they Said 

"Mitch [Moses] has come in and did what I believe he is capable of doing and what we all thought he was capable of doing. He jumped into the campaign straight up when he first walked in, he was strong with the way he wanted to play the game but everyone just jumped on board and did their jobs. Not only Mitch but Dylan Edwards out the back, I thought he was excellent. He has shown that he's an Origin player and I said that from day one when I first picked him. Payne Haas and Jake [Trbojevic], they laid the platform, so they all just jumped in together and made sure they played their part for the team." - Blues coach Michael Maguire

Blues: Game 2

"It was a tough first half, felt like we were running uphill and we couldn't stop the momentum of the game. Part of that is on us and we'll look at our game and work out what we need to adjust and what we need to go after and one thing I do know there's another game in three weeks' now. It's a tough game to play and it's a lot tougher when you're tired so it snowballed against the team and we just couldn't stop it. It was nearly 70-30 possession in that first half and the scoreline reflected that. I thought the second half was quite good, I thought our actions, the way we started the second half we went after the footy a little bit more, we were a bit more patient so it's a positive in the second half." - Maroons coach Billy Slater

Maroons: Game 2

What's Next

The Maroons and Blues head to Suncorp Stadium on July 17 for a decider with Queensland chasing a third straight series victory and the Blues looking for just their fifth series win since 2006. The last time the Blues went to Suncorp Stadium and won a decider was 2005.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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