Home Sports State of Origin, Fatty questions Bennett’s botched bench strategy

State of Origin, Fatty questions Bennett’s botched bench strategy

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Queensland legends Paul Vautin and Johnathan Thurston have questioned Queensland coach Wayne Bennett’s bizarre approach to his interchange as the Maroons collapsed in a 34-10 drubbing in Origin II.

NSW forced a series decider for next week’s Game Three at Suncorp Stadium after comprehensively playing their opponents off ANZ Stadium.

For that, they had prodigious halfback Nathan Cleary to thank who controlled the game with a confident early kicking game and relentless press.

But as the game slipped away from the Queenslanders with every try Brad Fittler’s men scored, there was seemingly little change from his counterpart.

Two of the Maroons best performers in the opening period, Dunamis Luis and Josh Papalii, were held on the bench until the dying moments of the evening with the match all but over.

Papalii even crossed over for Queensland’s second try of the night within minutes of returning to the field in the dying stages, but it was far too little too late.

Following the match, Thurston questioned, “why Dunamis was on the bench so long?”

That set co-host and Maroons legend Fatty Vautin off.

“It’s funny, Josh Papalii was outstanding in the first half and he didn’t get back on the field until 20-minutes to go,” Vautin said.

State of Origin Highlights: NSW v QLD – Game II

“He’s one of your gun players, he should have been on earlier. And Dunamis Lui, he really played well in that first 15 minutes. He didn’t get back on until five minutes to go.

“Tonight was so important and to be honest we underperformed as a team tonight, very disappointing. Admittedly we didn’t have a lot of quality ball down in their area and that was because NSW controlled it so well.

“I don’t know what happened there with the two scrums where they scored two tries off from it. I don’t know how you end up with three defenders against four attackers, I really don’t. I mean, you’ve just got to have a look, haven’t you? There’s something wrong here, you’ve got to fix that.

Joey savages Maroons defence

“We were quite disappointing after that first try. I know Cameron Munster was a loss but I don’t think it would have mattered if he was on the field…I thought we were just out-muscled tonight. All-round NSW far too good, far too good.”

Heavily criticised for his performance in Game I in Adelaide, halfback Nathan Cleary was, in the words of Immortal Andrew Johns, “super” as he guided the Blues around the park.

But it was the Queensland defence that proved the big talking point in Sydney, with New South Wales twice scoring from a scrum after creating a four-on-three overlap out wide, a lapse that had Johns seeing red, even if the Blues attack wasn’t.

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