Cody Walker stole the show and Josh Addo-Carr scored one of the great State of Origin tries as New South Wales avoided a whitewash in the series finale.
The Blues ran out comfortable 24-10 winners in Sydney on Wednesday night, with Walker dominating proceedings in his first game back for the Blues since 2020 as debutant Bradman Best scored a double on debut.
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow kept up his impressive record of scoring in each of his Origin appearance with a superb solo try, but the Maroons did not have enough to complete a first series sweep since 2010.
Queensland can console themselves with a third series win in four years.
Here’s who excelled and who disappointed as the Blues ended a disappointing series on a high.
New South Wales secured a 24-10 win over Queensland in Game III in Sydney
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NEW SOUTH WALES
James Tedesco – 6.5
Could this really be his final Origin appearance? Started well, but was bulldozed out of the way by David Fifita as the giant Queenslander crashed over for the opening try.
Tried his hardest to leave his mark on the game and set up Best’s second try with a superb break that offered a timely reminder of his incredible talent.
Under-pressure Blues skipper James Tedesco tried his hardest to leave his mark on the game
Brian To’o – 7
Outjumped by Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow as the Maroons opened the scoring, made amends with a superb finish to level the scores.
Stephen Crichton – 7.5
Put in some big tackles throughout the first half and set up To’o’s try. His kicking from the tee, however, was a mixed bag as he nailed two of four conversions and two penalties.
Bradman Best – 8.5
Will remember his Origin debut for a long time. Scored with his first touch of the ball, only for the try to be ruled out for offside, before setting up Josh Addo-Carr’s sensational solo effort.
He then grabbed one for himself and added another in the second half. Defensively outstanding.
Bradman Bes (right) scored on his Origin debut and put in a superb performance
Josh Addo-Carr – 8.5
Retained his spot despite a dismal Game II and repaid Fittler’s fate with one of the great Origin tries. Was instrumental in the Blues’ first try, skipping past AJ Brimson and looked a complete different player from the one who toiled away in the first two contests.
Josh Addo-Carr (middle) scored one of the great solo tries in State of Origin history
Cody Walker – 9
His first New South Wales appearance since 2019 and shredded Queensland’s defence at will throughout the game.
The Blues must be wondering why he wasn’t selected for the first two games and on tonight’s evidence, Jarome Luai may have to work hard to take the No6 jersey off the Rabbitohs star.
Rightly named Player of the Match.
Cody Walker was superb for New South Wales in his first Origin game since 2020
Mitchell Moses – 7
Started off with great purpose, kicking well and running hard at the Maroons. Not afraid to put his body on the lines, he stood up to David Fifita with a crunching tackle.
Jake Trbojevic – 6.5
Returned earlier than expected from injury to make his 16th Blues appearance. Carried hard and went through a lot of work in the first half.
Damien Cook – 7.5
Deployed out of position in Game II, he looked far more at home and assured in the No.9 jersey, not missing a tackle in the first half.
Reagan Campbell-Gillard – 6
Went through a lot of work early doors but faded slightly in the second half.
Liam Martin – 7
Rattled Lindsay Collins with a brutal hit early after the break and stopped a dangerous Queensland attack with a brilliant tackle on Ben Hunt.
Keaon Koloamatangi – 6.5
The Blues’ other debutant had a crucial hand in the Blues’ first try with a delightful flick.
Cameron Murray – 7.5
Promoted to the starting line-up, he acquainted himself well as did his two Rabbitohs teammates. Led the Blues pack with 73 metres in the first half.
Cameron Murray led the New South Wales pack with 73 metres in the first half
Isaah Yeo – 6.5
Dropped to the bench, made an impact with some typically strong tackles in the second half and narrowly missed out on a try.
Jacob Saifiti – 6
Worked hard off the bench and was perfectly serviceable.
Reece Robson – 6
Came off the bench after getting the starting gig in Game II and made no mistakes.
Clinton Gutherson – N/A
Fittler said he didn’t have a plan for him and it showed as he came off the bench with only three minutes left.
Scott Drinkwater – N/A
Never came off the bench.
AJ Brimson – 3
Replacing Reece Walsh is not easy and it showed. Lost Addo-Carr for the Blues’ first try and was in no man’s land for the Blues winger’s stunning solo effort.
Squandered a glorious attacking opportunity by picking the wrong receiver as the Maroons looked to break.
AJ Brimson had a day to forget as the Maroons defence struggled to stop New South Wales
Xavier Coates – 4
A difficult night for the Queensland winger, as New South Wales tormented the Maroons down the right wing at will during the first half.
Valentine Holmes – 3
Endured a torrid first half as the Blues found joy time and again down Queensland’s right hand-side and could not keep Addo-Carr in check. Misread a situation that allowed Best in for the Blues’ third try.
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow – 8
One of the Maroons heroes of the series, was very solid under the high ball and set up David Fifita’s opening try. Kept up his record of scoring a try in each Origin appearance with a superb solo effort. An incredible player.
Murray Taulagi – 6
Solid under the high ball, he ran with the usual intensity and split the Blues’ defence wide open with a superb break in the second half but ran of support.
Cameron Munster – 6.5
Probed and schemed with the usual verve and looked threatening on a couple of occasions, but failed to ignite the Maroons’ attack as he had done in the first two games.
Daly Cherry-Evans – 6
The Queensland skipper was not at his best defensively, as New South Wales cut the Maroons’ right edge to pieces in the first half. More involved in the second half, but it was too late to pull of another Queensland miracle.
Reuben Cotter – 6.5
Ran with the usual intensity and topped the tackling charts, deservedly earning the Wally Lewis Medal as player of the series.
Reuben Cotter received the Wally Lewis Medal as State of Origin’s Player of the Series
Harry Grant – 4
Gave away two penalties in the opening 17 minutes and had a pass intercepted by Stephen Crichton right at the end of the first half, which led to a penalty for New South Wales.
A wasteful knock-on in the second half derailed a promising attack.
Tino Fa’asuamaleaui – 5.5
A lot of effort, but not much end product.
David Fifita – 6.5
In the right place at the right time to pounce Tabuai-Fidow’s touch to score Queensland’s first try.
David Fifita (right) scored the opening try of Origin III with a smart finish
Jeremiah Nanai – 5.5
Like some of his teammates, the Cowboys star was not at his best. Looked to have scored in the first half, but was adjudged to have knocked on by the bunker.
Patrick Carrigan – 5.5
Brough the usual intensity to proceedings with some typically crunching tackles and determined runs.
Ben Hunt – 5
Less effective than usual off the bench. A knock-on in the second half proved costly as another promising opportunity petered out.
Lindsay Collins – 6.5
The Player of the Match in Game II was again heavily involved in the series finale. Penalised for a knock-on in the second half that could have led to a try.
Lindsay Collins was again heavily involved in the series finale after being named Player of the Match as Queensland won Game II
Moeaki Fotuaika – 5
Failed to make an impact off the bench.
Corey Horsburgh – 6
Was rattled by a huge tackle on his Origin debut, but brushed it off and worked hard throughout the second half with some eye-catching runs.
Tom Dearden – N/A
Didn’t come off the bench.
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