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Josh Dugan

#1 Fullback

Dragons

Junior: Sth Tuggeranong

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Billy Slater

#1 Fullback

Storm

Junior: Innisfail

Not far from the best on ground, running for a game-high 17 runs for a whopping 153 metres. Was swamped by the Maroons’ defence but still ground out territory for the Blues.

Plenty of metres and looked dangerous every time he got space to run. Could have done more to stop McManus scoring the Blues’ first.

Brett Morris

#2 Wing

Dragons

Junior: Kiama

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Darius Boyd

#2 Wing

Knights

Junior: Mudgeeraba

A solid return to form. Ran straight and hard fielding kicks and always looked for opportunities to squeeze a ball away between Queensland defenders.

Fewer opportunities than in Game Two, but his fingertip grounding saved a certain try right before halftime. Finished strongly with some big runs.

Michael Jennings

#3 Centre

Roosters

Junior: St Marys

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Greg Inglis

#3 Centre

Rabbitohs

Junior: Bowraville

Never really saw open space and was hammered when he attempted to make ground one off the ruck. Was forced to make a mountain of defensive work with 27 tackles.

Hardly sighted all night, the game’s best player was quieter here than he was in Game One. Gave away a penalty in the Blues’ first set and looked to be favouring a heavily strapped right knee.

Josh Morris

#4 Centre

Bulldogs

Junior: Kiama

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Justin Hodges

#4 Centre

Broncos

Junior: Cairns

Handy enough in attack with a line-break assist and try assist for James McManus but never got the chance to display his speed off the mark. Was found out in defence at times.

The most dangerous player on the park. His match-winning try on three-quarter time was well deserved. Brilliant first half try saver on Ryan Hoffman should not be overlooked.

James McManus

#5 Wing

Knights

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Brent Tate

#5 Wing

Cowboys

Junior: Redcliffe

A near faultless display from the under-pressure Knights winger. Showed wonderful determination to score the Blues’ opening try and always challenged the advantage line.

Quiet first half, his woes under the high ball continued when he spilled a Pearce bomb. Made amends with some great late runs when his side needed a lift.

James Maloney

#6 Five-eighth

Roosters

Junior: Gosford

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Johnathan Thurston

#6 Five-eighth

Cowboys

Junior: Sunnybank

Just a game. Poor service from his inside man limited his opportunities. Ran just five times and failed to beat a defender.

Blistering start to the game, his solo try planted the Maroons on the front foot and his kicking game troubled the Blues all night. Was our man of the match.

Mitchell Pearce

#7 Halfback

Roosters

Junior: Nth Ryde

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Cooper Cronk

#7 Halfback

Storm

Junior: Souths Acacia

The weak link. Made a handful of glaring, unforced errors and made some seriously poor options in attack. Will want to forget this game quickly – and hope selectors do next year.

An unusually quiet game from the Melbourne maestro, poor kicks repeatedly let the Blues off the hook. Still managed to put Hodges over for the match-winning try.

Aaron Woods

#8 Prop

Wests Tigers

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Matt Scott

#8 Prop

Cowboys

Junior: Longreach

Limited impact in limited game time.

The Test prop enjoyed his best game of the series, churning out huge metres. Denied a late try by a pitch invader, then almost scored anyway. Top effort.

Robbie Farah

#9 Hooker

Wests Tigers

Junior: Leichhardt

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Cameron Smith (c)

#9 Hooker

Storm

Junior: Logan

Got through a mountain of defence (43 tackles) and tried his hardest to spark the attack but the Queensland defenders for the most part read his mind.

The king of the one percenters. Another big game from the biggest of big game players. Topped the tackle count from either side, kicked beautifully and was everywhere in a frantic final stanza.

James Tamou

#10 Prop

Cowboys

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Nate Myles

#10 Prop

Titans

Junior: Sth Suburbs

Charged into the Queensland defence like a Goliath but was repelled like a David; Tamou managed just an 89-metre gain but chimed in with 37 tackles.

Another solid game from the man NSW loves to hate. You know what you’re going to get from Myles and he just keeps producing it.

Luke Lewis

#11 Second Row

Sharks

Junior: Blacktown

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Chris McQueen

#11 Second Row

Rabbitohs

Junior: Kingaroy

Was a major contributor to NSW’s woes with a clanger of an error on the zero tackle in the 21st minute when a chance of striking back from an 8-nil deficit. Poor game.

Unlikely to get the plaudits he deserves but his efforts won’t go unnoticed by teammates. Played big minutes and was heavily involved.

Ryan Hoffman

#12 Second Row

Storm

Junior: Campbelltown

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Sam Thaiday

#12 Second Row

Broncos

Junior: Townsville

Really stood up and was counted with 16 runs for 122 metres and 24 tackles in a complete back-rower’s performance. Offloaded well too.

Again looked to target Maloney in defence but was better contained here. A quieter outing than Game Two but let nobody down.

Greg Bird

#13 Lock

Titans

Junior: West Maitland

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Corey Parker

#13 Lock

Broncos

Junior: Logan

Tried hard but seemed to telegraph his intentions and movements to the Queensland defence. Contributed 28 bruising tackles.

Mountains of runs and mountains of tackles for the Broncos lock, but for the first time this series his offloads were well contained. Will be bitterly disappointed at allowing Merrin to score and letting the Blues back in the game.

Andrew Fifita

#14 Interchange

Sharks

Junior: Griffith

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Daly Cherry-Evans

#14 Interchange

Sea Eagles

Junior: Mackay

As in Game Two was among the Blues’ best. Bruising in both attack and defence with a game-high 17 runs and 34 tackles. His offloads worried the Maroons, as did his brute strength.

Didn’t see action til three-quarter time but threw himself into his work with gusto thereafter as Queensland clung on.

Trent Merrin

#15 Interchange

Dragons

Junior: Shellharbour

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Ben Te'o

#15 Interchange

Rabbitohs

Junior: Hibiscus Coast

Possibly didn’t see enough game time to make the impact NSW needed. Scored a crucial try to get the Blues within two points with eight minutes remaining but needed more involvement.

The Rabbitohs back-rower produced some stinging hits in defence.

Boyd Cordner

#16 Interchange

Roosters

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Matt Gillett

#16 Interchange

Broncos

Junior: Bribie Island

A real learning curve for the boom youngster. Appeared to limp out of every play and struggled with the pace of proceedings.

Hardly sighted in attack but plenty of tackles. Still managed to give away two penalties for lying in the ruck to hand the Blues momentum.

Anthony Watmough

#17 Interchange

Sea Eagles

Junior: Narrabeen

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Josh Papalii

#17 Interchange

Raiders

Junior: Logan

Almost the Blues’ best. Charged onto every pass with ferocity and always crossed the advantage line. Troubled the Queensland defence and made 26 bruising tackles.

Underutilised again by Meninga, despite seeing first-half action this time around. Will be a force next year.