Daley to stick with Blues halves for Origin II
NSW coach Laurie Daley has praised the efforts of his two halves Mitchell Pearce and Trent Hodkinson after the Blues' one-point loss to Queensland on Wednesday, assuring fans both will get a chance to level the series in Melbourne in Game Two.
The most contentious positions heading into the series opener, both Hodkinson and Pearce – playing with the unfamiliar No.6 on his back – had good all-round games, although both will likely cop some criticism as the side failed to close out a winnable game.
Most notably, in the 73rd minute with the scores locked at 10-all, a fourth tackle decision from Pearce to spread the ball right will come under fire, although with Hodkinson behind him set to take a shot at one point you could argue captain Robbie Farah sent the ball to the wrong man.
But each defended stoutly and Pearce's kicking game was on song, repeatedly finding big metres as his side looked to get out of their own end, as the Roosters co-captain finished with a huge match-high 525 kick metres.