STATE OF ORIGIN

Shocked Blues remain confident

The post-match stats suggested the Blues should have won Game Two. 

They made more metres, forced more dropouts, missed fewer tackles and produced more offloads than their Queensland counterparts.

All the stats were in their favour, except three, including the one that mattered most. 

The Blues came up with more errors on Wednesday night and conceded more penalties than their opposition, allowing the Maroons to level the series with a pulsating 18-16 win at ANZ Stadium.

All the hard work the Blues had done in the first half to establish a 16-6 lead was undone after the break as they invited the Maroons back into the contest with a 3-0 penalty count and a number of costly errors near halfway. 

To their credit, NSW defended valiantly and it's testament to their doggedness that they held on until the 77th minute. Alas, if you give a champion team like Queensland that many bites at the cherry, they're bound to strike gold as Dane Gagai did in the closing stages. 

"They're a great team and they ask a lot of questions, especially when you give them so many opportunities on your own line," Blues forward Wade Graham told NRL.com. 

"We probably weren't at our best in that second half and that's really frustrating because the boys put us in a really great position at half-time. We were probably our own worst enemies in that second half. We turned over cheap possession, gave away some penalties and didn't finish our sets as best we could. 

"It's hard to digest everything right now because there are a range of emotions. What we did in Game One gave us two bites at it so we know what we have to do up there in the decider.

"We definitely have confidence and we feel as a team that if we play our best game then we can beat them. We showed that in the first half tonight. Even with all the cheap turnovers and penalties in the second half, we were still in it until the very end. 

"We're very disappointed by how it all finished but Game Three is on in three weeks and we know we can turn it around."

‌The Blues knew they needed to score more than 16 points to wrap up the series, but their desire to push the pass came back to bite them with several poor options in attack resulting in turnovers. 

"We didn't want to hold the lead; we wanted to continue playing footy and score a few more points," Blues lock Tyson Frizell told NRL.com. 

"Unfortunately there were a few momentum swings and they killed us in the end. We wanted to play some footy after the break but we never gave ourselves a chance to do it.

"We gave them a few outs to help them out of their own end and that took the pressure off them. You can't do that against a quality side.

"We were pretty comfortable defending them time and time again, but giving them that possession doesn't help your cause, and against a team like that, they're going to make the most of their opportunities when they're down there. We gave them too many opportunities to put some points on us and in the end they took their chance.

"We knew what was coming and I think we let ourselves down."

The Dragons back-rower had to be needled to get through the game and hopes his ribs will be fine in time for Sunday's clash against the Knights. 

"It pulled up pretty sweet but I know I'll be pretty sore tomorrow," he said. 

"Going into the game it was alright, and hopefully I should be sweet to back up on the weekend."