“NSW deserve better than that”.
That was Orange-born Blues five-eighth James Maloney’s analysis of Wednesday’s State of Origin decider, in which his side put together undeniably its worst performance of the 2017 series.
A severely disappointed Maloney – one of the Blues’ better-performed players in Game III – didn’t hold back after the 22-6 loss, which was highlighted by Queensland winger Valentine Holmes’ hat-trick.
After describing the series loss as “horrible”, Maloney branded NSW’s performance akin to that of a reserve grade side.
"As a team to put a performance like that on, on an occasion like this, is horrible," Maloney told NSW legend Brad Fittler, just minutes after the full-time whistle had blown at Suncorp Stadium.
"You're never going to win a game of footy playing like that. To do it at a moment like this, mate it's horrible.
“NSW deserve better. Laurie (Daley) and the coaching staff deserve better.
“We haven't leaked 22 points all series and we leak it now. We scored more than six (points) every other game. It's that's disappointing.
"We completed at about 65 per cent (in the first half)… it's like playing reserve grade.
"It was just across the board too as a group. We needed to be better and we turned out that on the biggest occasion."
Defeating Queensland in a decider at Suncorp, brimming with immeasurable emotion after Johnathon Thurston’s tribute, was always going to be a huge ask, despite the Blues boasting what they’d admitted themselves was the best NSW side in recent history.
Winning at Queensland’s home of rugby league certainly wasn’t impossible, NSW proved that with a 28-4 shellacking of the Maroons in Game I.
But NSW was outgunned and outplayed by Queensland on Wednesday night, led by mercurial skipper Cameron Smith and rookie five-eighth Cameron Munster.
The rout started with Holmes’ first in the 15th minute and finished with Jarrod Wallace’s maiden four-pointer in the Origin arena in the 66th.
The flying Sharks winger scored another two in between as well, while Josh Dugan’s second-half try was one of very few bright spots for NSW, on an underwhelming night.
All that, from Queensland, without the likes of injured stalwarts Thurston, Greg Inglis, Darius Boyd and Matt Scott.