NSW Blues

Blues debut a family affair for Freddy's new enforcer Keaon

Koloamatangi and Knights centre Bradman Best will make their Origin debuts as part of a new-look Blues squad out to avoid a clean sweep in the series finale at Accor Stadium on July 12.

Other changes include the selection of Rabbitohs No.6 Cody Walker, Eels pair Clint Gutherson and Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Manly forward Jake Trbojevic and Newcastle prop Jacob Saifiti.

Freddy’s last stand and the make-or-break call that could define his Origin legacy

Fittler’s current contract expires if NSW fail to win the 2023 series, but with two back-to-back wins an extension is triggered for next year.

The odds are stacked against NSW, however, with Fittler admitting this Suncorp Stadium clash will be the biggest test of his storied career as both a player and coach.

Fittler was appointed Blues coach ahead of the 2018 series and was tasked with turning fortunes around after superstar-studded Queensland won 11 of the 12 series prior.

'Similar challenge': Blues' Samoan connection to draw on World Cup feats

With the Maroons winning the series opener at Adelaide Oval, the Blues must win to ensure a decider at Accor Stadium on July 12 and while history is against NSW the Samoa stars believe there are similarities with what they achieved in England.

Like NSW, Samoa lost their opening match when humbled 60-6 by England at Newcastle’s St James Park but bounced back to defeat arch-rivals Tonga 20-18 in a gripping quarter-final, with the Blues quartet playing key roles.

New South Wales beat Queensland 44-12 to level series

The Blues, who have won three of the last four series, edged a tight first half 14-12 before scoring five unanswered tries in the second.

Penrith Panthers half-back Nathan Cleary, 24, converted all seven NSW tries, scoring two himself and kicking a penalty goal for a 24-point haul.

Queensland won game one 16-10 and host the decider in Brisbane on 13 July.

After Cleary's early penalty for the Blues, Queensland second row Felise Kaufusi touched down and Valentine Holmes converted to put them 6-2 ahead.

Queensland strike first with 16-10 win in New South Wales

Both teams scored a try in the opening half but Valentine Holmes' conversion handed Queensland a lead at the break.

The visitors went further in front after the interval with tries from Daly Cherry-Evans and Holmes.

Cameron Murray pulled one back for the hosts but Queensland were able to hang on.

"That was the response that we wanted and any player who played last year, we wanted the chance to come back and show that the jersey means something to us, and it was a good start," said Queensland skipper Cherry-Evans.

'Grateful' Koroisau relieved to earn second Origin chance

Koroisau was fined $35,000 fine suspended for two games by the NRL following NSW’s series win after it emerged he had breached the game’s code of conduct by bringing a person into the team's strict bubble during the Origin series.  

The incident raised questions around whether Koroisau would be allowed back into another Blues campaign under Brad Fittler given the NSW coach's work with the team's culture in recent years.

Luai ‘in the mix’ for Kangaroos as Meninga aims to get Samoa star to defect

Luai, who was part of NSW’s Origin II triumph on Sunday, has previously represented the Pacific nation.

Samoa are in the midst of a coaching crisis with Matt Parish and the nation’s board off-side with a number of leading players, including Luai and Queensland’s Josh Papalii.

Luai has in the past indicated he wanted to help Samoa mirror the growth of Tonga on the international stage, but Meninga encouraged the Penrith five-eighth to change his allegiance.

NSW Blues creates historic upset in State of Origin

After their successful encounter in game one, the Blues showed electrifying performance last night, running in three first-half tries to have an 18-0 advantage at half time.

NSW had not won consecutive games in Queensland since 1996-1998, when the Blues won four straight in enemy territory.

Game 3 is scheduled for July 14 at Stadium Australia, however, the NRL is considering moving the game as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.


Head injuries force Kangaroos captain into early retirement

Cordner's decision comes a little over two months after his Sydney Roosters team mate Jake Friend, who was co-captain with him at the NRL club, cited head injuries as his reason for quitting the sport.

"My heart was telling me I wanted to play on, and I was doing everything I possibly could, but my mind and my head was telling me otherwise, it was dragging me the other way," Cordner said.

"For once in my life and my career I had to put my health and my happiness first. It was an extremely tough decision to make."

NSW Blues claim record win in series opener against Queensland Maroons

Trbojevic scored his second Origin hat-trick and set up another as he popped up all over the field, helping NSW blow the Maroons off the park in the series opener.

Fellow centre Latrell Mitchell was also superb with his own double in his Origin return, while debutant winger Brian To'o also bagged two tries.

The Blues backs were too strong and too fast for Queensland, who weren't able to take advantage of a one-sided home crowd of 27,533 in Townsville's maiden Origin.